Thursday, July 20, 2017

Time to divide bearded iris 

With their showy spring flowers, bearded iris is a mainstay in many gardens.
Bearded irises are generally low maintenance plants season after season, but over time they can become crowded and they stop producing as many blooms. When this happens, it's an indication the plant needs to be divided.
Iris grow in clumps and the root of an iris is called a rhizome. The best tool to use to dig iris rhizomes is a spading fork.
Spading forks make it easy to get under and lift the rhizome without causing damage to the roots.
Once you’ve got the clump of iris out of the ground, you’ll be able to see the rhizomes clearly.
You’ll want to get rid of any old or diseased rhizomes. You can remove and divide the clump with a knife or by breaking off each root with your hand.
Trim the leaves in a fan shape down to between 4" and 6".
Mark the leaves with the name of the iris, so you’ll remember which one it is.
When you’re planting your iris in their new location, remember that iris grow in the direction of the heel so place your rhizomes with the leaves planted in the direction you want the plant to grow. Iris will do okay in clay soils, but they thrive in soils that have been amended, so add a couple of inches of Sheep, Peat and Compost and dig in it.
Next, dig a shallow trench in your amended soil, add some Bone Meal and place the rhizome so that the roots are fanned out to the side, then add enough soil to just cover the rhizome and water thoroughly.
Your iris will establish through the summer and fall and be ready to bloom next spring. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tips to get the most from your vegetable garden 

Now that the growing season is upon us, we all want the best we can get from our vegetable gardens. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your garden this season. Make time to work in your garden every day. Time spent working around your plants helps you catch small problems before they get out of control. Spotting insect or disease issues early makes them easier to deal with.
Cultivate, don't weed. Carry a garden  hoe with you when you make your daily rounds in the garden. Use your garden hoe to lightly scuff up the soil between rows and around plants. Weeds will never have the chance to get started.
Mulch. Apply a layer of mulch between rows and around plants. A 2” layer of mulch helps retain moisture and also keeps weeds down.
Grow more crops vertically. Yields on vining crops such as tomatoes, pole beans and squash improve if you use sturdy trellis and cages to support your plants as they grow.
You can see and pick ripe vegetables easier and the air circulation around plants is better, which means you’ll have less mildew and disease problems.
Take advantage of overhead space.
Tumbling Tom tomatoes do really well in hanging baskets.  
Irrigate, don’t water.  Plants grow better if you water at the roots and not overhead. Build a trench or a moat around your plants and fill with water. This will keep the water where your plants need it. 
Feed your crops the right fertilizer. When your plants start out they need Nitrogen, the first number on the bag. As vegetable plants grow and begin to produce blooms and fruit, they need Phosphate and Potassium, the middle and last number on the bag.
Use succession planting. Succession planting allows you to grow and harvest more than one crop from the same space in the garden. Now that your spring-planted lettuce is done, plant some bush beans or other fast maturing crop in the same spot. When this crop is done in the fall, it'll be time to plant cool weather crops such as spinach, lettuce and kale. Staying in touch with your garden will help you make the most of your garden space and grow more vegetables.