Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bearded Iris Bed Maintenance. 8.10.14

Bearded Iris Raised Beds.  8.10.14

Trying not to over-do TLC for the bearded irises.  It's hard for me to just leave them alone, even if I think they might be better off without me puttering around them.

We are at the hottest day of the year, so far.  Around 95 F

I crushed eggshells and scattered them one the soil surface.   The eggshells provide calcium, which is deficient in my soil.  I think they don't raise pH.  I am guessing, lower pH might slow some fungal growth, so no more lime.  Eggshells might provide a little slow-release nitrogen, and if so that's all they get this time.

Removed more weeds.  Removed the last of the multiplier onions, which were a disappointment due to attracting deer or rabbits to eat them.
Bearded Iris Raised Bed.  8.10.14
Filled in some soil low spots with dry mole hill soil.  They were bone dry to a foot deep, so I did water them.  The watering might not be needed, and could be harmful, but it's hard for me to not-water.

Last week I also sprayed them all with a generous spray of Neem oil, following the manufacturer's recommendations of 2-4 tbsp per gallon.  I used 4tbsp per gallon.  My hope is that will keep any fungal diseases in check.

Will try not to mess with them more, unless there is a long dry stretch.  The Neem can be applied every 2-3 weeks, and it might be helpful to do that.

No more plants between iris clumps, except a few Sempervivum, which tolerate dry, heat, neglect, and do not spread much at all.  There is a grape cutting and genetic dwarf peach seedling in one bed, those will come out this fall.


  1. Anonymous12:03 PM

    Hello! It's your Ridgefield neighbor here ...

    That chunk of honey in one of your prior updates looks absolutely scrumptious! Knock wood, you'll get a lot more of it in years to come.

    Meanwhile, we've recently spotted the dreaded varroa mite in our hives, and my mind is boggling over all the information out there regarding treatment (or non-treatment, as the case may be). Have you dealt with this issue at all? I'd very much love to hear your opinions on it ...

    Once again, your gardening efforts put me to shame. I'd better get cracking! :)


  2. Sorry to hear about the varroa. I have not dealt with it but I have bad eyes so maybe it's there and I don't know. I am trying to stick with organic methods although I have a huge amount to learn. Thanks for the nice compliment! Good luck!

  3. With 2 rainy days and humid today, I was concerned about the neem washing off and worsening of fungal spot. So I re-sprayed the historic bearded irises, again per package instructions.

  4. Don't know a sure solution to fungal disease but putting more drainage(like sand) in the plot will help. Maybe some companion plants in adj. plot can deter fungus. I have bearded iris for yrs and yrs and my weather is always mild so they are not stressed out. I think hot summers can stress the plant out and make it sub-come to infections. Mid-day shade and lower humidity is better for irises in general.

  5. Society garlic, thyme, oregano, basil, and tomatoes are examples of companion plants that protect other plants from fungal problems. A row of onions can deter fungus too.

  6. Lance, thanks for the advice. I did have onions mixed in with them, and oregano. Oregano is great for bee forage. But too rangy for my iris bed. I think the big issue here was the long chilly rainy spring. I've grown irises here for 14 years, and this was the first time I lost any to fungal disease. I think I over-nurtured them.