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Re: New iris beds

Patty writes:

>I will be tilling a new iris bed for TBs that I will be receiving in July.
>Since I am new to the iris, I would like to know if tilling in WELL
>composted horse manure from our local barn would be beneficial or will it be
>too rich?  I will also be adding well screened compost.

We garden in a hot, humid area, with extremely sandy soil (old tobacco
land). For our new iris beds (bearded) I work in well rotted sawdust,
sphagnum peat moss, cold pile compost, bone meal, dolomitic lime and
18-18-21 soluble fertilizer. I try to work in oak leaves the winter before
if I haven't gotten slothful and prepared a new bed in six weeks. Even with
this witches brew we experience *very* little rot. Second and third year I
fertilize in February and again after bloom season. We divide and move to
new ground every three years. (Most of the time -- if we stay in an old
area we solarize before resetting) We put the vegetable garden in the old
iris spot when it is out of the iris rotation. The iris bed is about a
quarter acre so it does take a bit of amendment (most of the stuff by the
pick-up load or if by the dump truck, by the ton) While the plot is in
vegtables I put half a dozen pick-up loads of calf barn manure in sometime
each fall/early winter.

Hope this helps as you are somewhat the same climate, if not soil.

Mike Lowe, Virginia, USA

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