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Re: OT: Introduction

I agree with Griff.  I've used Mushroom Compost in my own garden with  great 
I have to say that I have also stepped "outside of the box" and I use a  VERY 
rich compost that contains manure.  ***I say that while watching  everyone 
cringe***  HOWEVER, I dig this deep into the soil so the iris have  to send 
roots down far enough to reach the richness.
I personally have never had any rot problems associated with using  this.  I 
never place it in direct contact with the iris and I also add  other "goodies" 
to my beds such as Alfalfa pellets, Chicken Manure, and  10-10-10.  Again, I 
must stress, I dig ALL of this into my bed  deeply.
I am rewarded with very healthy plants that always bloom nicely.  I've  never 
had issues with iris having too much lush growth and no bloom  stalks.
To protect the innocent, I have a friend that once used treated sewage that  
was double dug down into his beds.  He had the MOST BEAUTIFUL iris I had  ever 
laid my eyes on.  Unfortunately, that product is no longer  available.  We 
have since then found a resource for fresh horse  manure.  The caution of using 
this is that it really needs to age a year  before use because it is so very 
"hot."  Therefore, once again, if we need  to use it quickly because bed 
preparation is underway, then it is always dug  VERY DEEPLY under the bed.  (double 
I don't know if "double dug" is a correct term, but it refers to tilling  the 
soil as deep as the tiller will take you, then pull that dirt out and then  
put your tiller back into the bed and dig again.  This is the area in which  we 
place the plant's yummylicious diet.
Many folks talk about using little nitrogen.  I agree to an extent  that high 
levels of nitrogen can be very detrimental to bearded iris in  general.  
However, from growing up on a farm and raising all sorts of  different things, I 
feel that all plants need good nutrition to produce to their  fullest 
potential.  The drawback with lots of nitrogen is that you get the  fast and soft 
growth and little bloom in return.  However, when it's dug  deep, then it's not 
like throwing it right on top of them or barely scratching  it in.  I let the 
iris "search" for it which seems to be my magic secret  that people want to know 
because my plants are always so very healthy and my  bloom seasons are always 
one large bouquet.  I have also found that  different cultivars will respond 
differently.  Some will grow to their full  potential with beautiful branching 
and good bud count while others will  "over-grow" producing stalks that are 
WAY outside the norm for the  cultivar.  I saw a stalk at our local show this 
year that was at least 4 ft  tall and more branches than any tree out in the 
woods!  It was amazing, but  really overgrown.
As for my suggestion to you....experiment.  Since this is new to you,  I 
wouldn't suggest using my method over your entire garden.  Experiment a  little to 
see what works best in your area.  I'm sure I'd have more rot  issues if I 
were in an area that was inundated with lots of rain and an over  abundance of 
moisture.  I have never implemented a new idea on an entire  garden at one 
time.  For a couple of reasons.  First, I don't want to  jeopardize my entire 
garden due to bad judgement.  Also, without a  "control" group, I can't tell what 
results I get from anything new.
You will find through trial and error that iris are pretty tough creatures  
for the most part.  Of course, there are some that are much more "tender"  than 
others.  However, they provide lots of enjoyment for you and those who  
Enjoy and Best of Luck - Keep us posted on your results!   I  always tell 
folks, don't try to make all mistakes by yourself, because life is  too short.  
Learn from others, take what you like, and nix those things you  don't like.  
Through careful planning and perseverance, you will find the  formula that 
works best for you!
-Evan Underwood
Southern Middle Tennessee

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