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Re: HYB: CULT: coddling seedlings (and adults)

  • Subject: Re: HYB: CULT: coddling seedlings (and adults)
  • From: Linda Mann <lmann@icx.net>
  • Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 08:28:28 -0800

From: Linda Mann <lmann@icx.net>

Lowell Baumunk in Colorado wrote:
> It's easy to "test" your plants by neglecting them; not so easy to
> facilitate
> each one achieving its potential by working to grow them as well as
> possible.

LOL - Amen to that.  

In Region 7, a lot of us have pretty much about decided that means we
all need to move somewhere else! :) Reminds me of the advice I have
gotten from different catalog suppliers at various times - Cooley's
suggested I avoid overhead watering (build a tent? - with 60 inches
average rain and 2 inch rainfalls not at all uncommon, I got a huge
laugh out of that one) and someone else suggested I buy topsoil and
railroad ties and basically import somebody else's garden to put on top
of mine.  :)  & several listers have jokingly suggested I move to the
west coast.

More seriously, with the germinating seeds, they are extremely sensitive
as they are germinating, and it's hit or miss whether the rollercoaster
freezes come along just as they are at that sensitive stage, plus they
aren't taking up a lot of garden space as seeds.  The bigger they get,
the less interested I am in wasting space on something that is likely to
be killed sooner or later by weather & topographic stresses.  So once
they have a fan, I don't protect them from the freezes, tho I have been
watering and fertilizing to get some size on them as quickly as I can. 
New aquisitions and newly set seedlings get coddled for the first year -
all get weeded & fertilized & alfalfa'd & limed, seedlings get regular
water.  After that, they get fertilizer, lime, alfalfa & some weeding -
the rhizomes are kept in the clear.  If they don't bloom in a few years,
sometimes the bed gets abandoned.  Usually, it gets taken over by fescue
grass at that point, hence my observations on fescue, pallida children,
& a few others.  I rarely ever treat for rot - it nearly always recurs
on the same cultivars, so I just let them go.  Everynow and then, rot
will get into an overgrown established clump of a cultivar that normally
does really well here & I will usually clean out the rotten mess in the
middle, but never have used Clorox or other treatment.

Also, re why would anybody want to grow their irises buried in weeds? 
Weeds are just another type of companion plants.  So if a particular
cultivar thrives under weed companions (most don't), then that is a
cultivar that will make a good choice for a mixed bed of perennials.

But those are two of my "things" here because I have the good fortune of
having a wretched place to grow irises & I don't recommend what I choose
to do for anybody else, unless they want to be able to brag to others in
the rollercoaster zone about how well their plants did when everybody
else's got frozen or rotted in the 'bad' years. :)

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA
temps in the low teens this AM.  Supposed to be back up in the 60s in a
few days and another downpour of rain.  Should be some "good" damage to
report on in a few days.

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