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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #320 - Iris my true love, has been providing ecstatic mornings for a few
June 18, 2018

Iris is the love of my life and she has been keeping me in a state of bliss for the past few weeks. This one is Carnival Song and she is a rather late variety. I did manage to enter the local garden club’s Iris show and defend my honour by taking home best in show again. Didn’t have as many entries as the main bloom season was quickly passing due to the extreme heat that we experienced at the end of May. There is lot of time being spent on the veggie garden and we have been eating well but the Iris are food for the soul. The trick now is to label the ones that I want to move or divide as I won’t remember in late July when Iris dividing season rolls around. Despite my application of nematodes earlier this spring, there seems to be noticeably more Iris borer showing up this year. I keep my eye out for yellow and wet notches in the leaves and then go on a borer hunt. Always feels somewhat satisfying when I find the culprit and eliminate him or possibly her, who can tell. Presumably another Iris borer can. I really should have been more fastidious cleaning up all of the old foliage last fall as that eliminates the overwintering eggs.

This is my first year trying to grow Cucumbers in one of the subirrigation containers and so far they are responding beautifully. I put the box in the middle of the trellis and raised the trellis on a few cement blocks and then tied it to those blocks so that wind, hopefully, can’t blow it over. They have already leaned out and found the trellis on their own. I thought I might have to direct them and I may still have to talk to a few of the ones that can’t find their own way. I was having trouble with Cucumber beetle larva being laid in the soil and eating the roots. In theory the plastic cover on the box will eliminate that problem and we will just be left with the adult beetles chewing on the leaves. We had a very cold spell this past winter and I’m deluding myself into thinking that the beetles didn’t survive. Most things growing in those boxes perform much better than they do planted in the ground and I’m hoping the Cucumbers are no exception.

Just around the corner of the house, screening the work area and all its odds and ends, is a trellis with this magnificent Clematis. Clare de Lune is the variety name and she has performed like this for several years. That’s probably over 2 M (6 ft+) tall and almost as wide. She does get some pruning each year but only to stop her from exceeding the height of her trellis. There are dozens of large, almost white, blooms that last for at least 4 weeks. Her job is to screen the work area from the street or the front garden. A job she does very well except when she is in bloom and then she draws people to the area rather then screening it. That does force me to keep the work area somewhat neater then may be my usual style. Oh, did I mention that I have a delightful daughter named Claire.

Just south of the subirrigation boxes there is a section of the garden where we still plant things directly into the soil. There are some vegetables that just don’t seem to fit into those boxes. The centre of this section is a circle of winter Squash seedlings that will eventually run over most of this space. There is a row of Okra that will, apparently, grow quite well in my boxes but probably not fruit very well as they tend to need to be a bit hungry in order to produce a good crop. I do have a few in a box to test the theory. Around the right hand circle is a row of Leeks that also are happier in the soil. The annoying part of this picture is the weed growth. This morning, when the soil was very dry I spent some time hoeing out all the small weeds. It’s easy to do when they are small even though I don’t always get around to it. Then it rained and many of the uprooted little weeds appear to have successfully transplanted themselves and now I will have to weed it all over again. We were quite desperate for the rain so I won’t complain too loudly. The fence, of course, is a rabbit fence. The healthy looking row to the middle left are radishes and no I don’t really need that many but they are markers in the row of Parsnips which are quite slow to germinate. The Pillar of Peppers is just out of the picture to the upper left. Its 30 Pepper plants are doing well and will continue to do so as long as I keep hauling water to it. It’s at this point that I stop and wonder why I located it as far as possible from any water source???

Now it’s time to answer a few of my reader’s questions. To ask a question just “reply” to this ezine. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Donna Asks? I’m so glad we have you to answer our questions. I’ve been saving the water from the dehumidifier to water the plants outside. My husband is wondering if that’s ok. Thank you

Ken Answers! Dehumidifier water is close to distilled water and will be missing any chlorine, fluorine etc. and that should make the plants happy. Will also be missing some minerals that the plants might have liked.

Pat Asks?
Ken Answers! I'm just down the road in Whitby and my Boston Ivy is performing beautifully and I'm already looking towards the annual big pruning job. Just let the new growth from the bottom do its thing and it should recover. It's usually very hard to kill.

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