Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New Iris Bed, With No Digging

I was helping a neighbor do some gardening chores, and she pulled a huge bucket's worth of iris that was overcrowding the spot it had been growing in.

She said she'd already spread the iris to the spots in her yard she wanted them, so she offered the pulled ones to me.  I quickly accepted, even though I had NO IDEA where I was going to plant them.

I had read this winter about a bulb company that is based in an area with soil that's nearly 100% clay, which caught my eye since that's about the situation where I live.  It turns out they don't DIG beds for their bulbs anymore, they put the bulbs on top of the existing clay and mound better dirt on top of them, making a sort of bulb raised bed.

Apparently this company had been growing bulbs like this for years and it works well for them.  It sounded a LOT easier to me than slaving away to dig massive trenches for any sort of large scale planting, so I've been meaning to give it a try the next time I had bulbs to plant.

At 6 months pregnant, there was NO WAY I was going to excavate a massive bed for these suckers by hand, so this huge bucket of iris seemed like the perfect chance to give this new no-dig system a try!

Once I got home I mowed down some grass by the side of our driveway so it was very short, then spread some cardboard over the grass to smoother it.  I had run down to Lowes and bought $19 worth of cheap potting soil and compost, and just dumped the bags of dirt over the cardboard and raked it smooth.

Then I clipped the leaves of the iris so they wouldn't fall over from being too top-heavy, and just evenly nestled them into the new dirt I had spread.  I finished with a very, very light sprinkle of mulch.  I know iris like to be planted shallowly, but I was a little worried they might fall over or get washed away in the first heavy rain we got - I'm hoping the mulch won't be deep enough to hurt them, but will help keep them in place.

I'll let you know how this new iris bed does... I'm equally ready for them to all die, or to thrive.  Guess we'll see!

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