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Re: CULT: Recycling garden area

George -- It's really not too difficult to dig out an iris bed. In this area, it's easiest when the ground is rather dry (the whole clump more likely to come out intact on the garden fork and the dirt readily falling off). Unless you dig out all the dirt to a depth of about 8 inches and replace it completely (which I have often done), you will probably have a few bits and pieces of irises that sprout up in your new bed. So? The only problem that poses, that I can tell, is the possibility of a survivor posing as a new seedling. The possibility of such an impostor succeeding is enhanced if you plant your seed directly in the ground. But if you plant your seeds in pots and transfer them to the ground, there's little chance of a "volunteer" infiltrating their ranks without being detected. So, if you're not worried about a few volunteers coming up, an easy way to go is just to dig out all the clumps, add sufficient new topsoil and sand to replace what was lost in digging the bed, fertilize, till, apply pre-emergent weed killer and plant.

When making a completely new bed, I prefer to mix the existing garden (or lawn) soil with new, trucked-in top soil and sand. Although this will guarantee the survival of some weed seeds, it also provides some insurance against the new topsoil being completely devoid of nutrients. -- Griff

----- Original Message ----- From: "George Schubert" <gschubert@earthlink.net>
To: <iris@hort.net>
Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2006 9:00 PM
Subject: [iris] CULT: Recycling garden area

I am going to hopefully finish dividing my clumps this summer, saving at least two rhizomes from each variety, but likely a few more from cultivars I would like to use as parents. Once I have saved the rhizomes I want and made sure they have gotten off to a successful transplant, I would like to recycle that garden space back into iris beds for new varieties and seedlings, maybe next year.

I could dig out all the rhozomes from a clump and compost/give away the excess, but that sounds like a lot of unneccessary work. Or I could Roundup the whole patch, then till, but don't want the chemical expense or the fretting about toxicity carryover in the soil. Or I could just mow and till. And till. And till, in what would seem like an endless process to keep the unnamed little buggers from popping up forever.

Any been there done thats?


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