Irises forum: How do you make your rows?

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Name: Gabriel/Gabe Rivera
Charlotte, NC (Zone 7b)
German imported, Michigan raised
Region: North Carolina Hybridizer Garden Photography Region: United States of America Hostas Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Dog Lover Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises Container Gardener
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Cuzz4short
Jan 27, 2018 8:18 AM CST
I don't want to use chemicals to remove grass this time around or ever again. Also, the shoveling experience is just to time consuming.

I thought about either renting a gas powered sod cutter $100+ for the day.
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I can't find a kick sod cutter for less than $400 which I really like.
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Any input is welcome or alternative ideas are welcome.




Gimme it and I'll grow it!
Name: Gabriel/Gabe Rivera
Charlotte, NC (Zone 7b)
German imported, Michigan raised
Region: North Carolina Hybridizer Garden Photography Region: United States of America Hostas Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Dog Lover Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises Container Gardener
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Cuzz4short
Jan 27, 2018 8:19 AM CST
Your* rows D'Oh!

Time to hire myself a proof reader too Sticking tongue out
Gimme it and I'll grow it!
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
Jan 27, 2018 8:54 AM CST
I would rent the sod cutter - removing turf is one of my least favorite things to do in the garden. It is hard on the old back, especially if the lawn is old and the soil is heavy as it is here. I prefer to save my energy for other things - there's always plenty to choose from! Hilarious!
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jan 27, 2018 9:59 AM CST
The method that works really great, is cheap, and not labor intensive is to solarize using a plastic tarp that doesn't let sunlight in. This method requires a bit of pre-planning as it takes a while, but requires no chemicals and you get good results. You can add any organic material you want on top of sod, cover with the tarp cut into the shape you want, and let the worms and insects do their job. If you start this process this spring for beds you want to start next year it's perfect. If you're in a hurry, this won't work. When you take off the tarp the next spring you will find the sod all dead and decayed, and the soil all loose and worked up by the worms. The compost will be broken down and worked into the soil. You can then just plant. Smiling

Another modified way to do this in a raised bed is to lay down a layer of cardboard over the sod, and fill the bed with new soil right on top of the sod. The sod will die, the cardboard will break down in time, and your plants can send their roots right through it into the soil below. Much less labor intensive then removing sod and filling new soil back in. Good luck!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Jan 27, 2018 10:07 AM CST
I've used the cardboard method to create large garden beds on hard clay, works very well. Tried solarizing but think I waited too long into the summer to put the plastic down, didn't seem to help as much as I'd hoped.
LizB
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Jan 27, 2018 10:11 AM CST
I have been shovel cutting my sod. If done after a good rain, or soaking with the hose, it is relatively easy to lift the sod. It is just heavy to lift. My neighbor has grass in his front yard now made from the sod I have cut out for beds. Since you are going to make much larger beds I would suggest you use the sod cutter for this year's and solarize now for later beds.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
Jan 27, 2018 10:46 AM CST
I have used the cardboard method and it works well. A thick layer of old newspapers will work too. A big area covered in plastic can be a bit of an eye sore in a small garden and it does take some patience.
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jan 27, 2018 10:52 AM CST
You can always put your pot ghetto on top ofthe plastic. Rolling on the floor laughing
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Jan 27, 2018 10:55 AM CST
Wouldn't that slow down the solarization process Tom???? Big Grin
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jan 27, 2018 11:05 AM CST
I might not get as hot under the tarp, but it would suffocate the weeds, and the grass would decompose.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
Jan 27, 2018 11:05 AM CST
Tom! Hilarious!
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Jan 27, 2018 12:01 PM CST
I always seem to do things the hard way, so I would be removing it by shovel. I also have some bermuda/torpedo grass that has worked its way into my lawn, so I would want to be sure to remove all of its roots. Otherwise, I would try the "lasagna" method others have mentioned. As for solarizing....I have way too much wild life activity in my garden to try that.

Good luck on the project and do take care of your back and knees!
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
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grannysgarden
Jan 27, 2018 1:47 PM CST
tveguy3 said:You can always put your pot ghetto on top ofthe plastic. Rolling on the floor laughing


The heat radiated from the dark plastic would effectively bake any potted plant on it i think. It gets unrelentingly hot in the august sun here. You could put some mulch on the plastic or bark and then put the plants on it but that may diminish the heat to kill the grass under the plastic.
Who plants a seed beneath the sod and waits for growth believes in God. ~~Unknown
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jan 27, 2018 2:16 PM CST
The grass dies from lack of sun. If you wet the soil under the tarp, the weed seeds start to germinate and then die for lack of sun. I grow my veggie garden on tarps with holes for the plants. Virtually ends weeding the garden. Doesn't work for row crops. This may not work in really hot regions, but here our temps often get in the 90's in the summer. The tarp keeps the moisture in the soil. I can put a soaker hose under it to water.
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Too bad we can't do this for irises, Rolling on the floor laughing
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
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grannysgarden
Jan 27, 2018 4:02 PM CST
I thought the idea was to *cook* the unwanted grass/weeds. If the process is just to keep the sun from the soil you could use the plastic and cover it with anything. Even burlap would do and not get too hot. I used to use thick newspapers in my garden rows between the plants to keep down weeds. It helped a lot. Once the paper got wet it stuck together and did not blow around. The weeds did not get through it and the earthworms loved the paper. At that time we did not use any colored portions of the paper. At the end of the growing year the paper could be tilled into the soil.
Who plants a seed beneath the sod and waits for growth believes in God. ~~Unknown
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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evelyninthegarden
Jan 27, 2018 5:37 PM CST
Tom and Liz B ~ Thank you for your inspiration. I went outside and look what I just did! If it works, I will be very happy and thankful.

The old way that I started before...
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This took me about an hour instead of a month.
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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dirtdorphins
Jan 27, 2018 7:01 PM CST
Right on! Good for you Evelyn Thumbs up

The lasagna thing works well if you can wait to plant and don't have evil weeds in your lawn and it's not a hill--
but bermuda grass Grumbling and bindwind Grumbling among others, are happy to grow right through that kinda stuff, no matter how high you pile it...and then of course, piled high and wet, it will slide right down the hill if you are dumb enough to try that D'Oh! don't ask me how I know Rolling on the floor laughing
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Jan 27, 2018 7:04 PM CST
I so want to ask. Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Pam
Pennsylvania
Irises Keeps Horses Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: Pennsylvania
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Snork
Jan 27, 2018 7:17 PM CST
...and then of course, piled high and wet, it will slide right down the hill if you are dumb enough to try that D'Oh! don't ask me how I know Rolling on the floor laughing [/quote]

I know! D'Oh! Whistling Sighing!


Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Jan 27, 2018 7:39 PM CST
When we live in LA County the hill behind the house was sandstone. I dug out out areas in the sandstone to hold large boulders then applied the dirt with composted horse manure from the pasture behind the boulders. It worked great. The boulders were scattered around and not placed in a line. The bonus was I've never seen so many earthworms.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
[Last edited by iciris - Jan 27, 2018 7:41 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1629666 (20)

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