Claire Schneider's

Iris Magic Fertilizer Formula

For every rhizome or clump of rhizomes planted in my Ramona iris garden, I amend the soil with about four gallons of well-aged chicken manure compost (i.e. about a 5 gallon pot),1/2 cup of Gro-Power Flower ‘n’ bloom and one cup of Ada Perry’s Magic Rose mix. I thoroughly work these ingredients into the iris hole with a shovel, taking three or four minutes to shake and turn the soil over and over and over. Usually in mid-March and mid-October I’ll fertilize every rhizome with about a tablespoon of the Gro-Power Flower ‘n’ bloom. And that’s it for fertilizer.

About the well-aged chicken manure. It comes from Rudi Stalkaper over on Hanson Ln, Ramona, Tel. 760-747-5577. Last January it cost $25 per yard plus delivery charge which for me was $25. Delivery depends on the distance Ebb has to drive. Phone number is 760-801-5664 for Ebb who is the guy who delivers it. In January of 2012 Ebb delivered 15 yards to my house and he can maneuver his truck to dump it wherever you want. I still have some. It is aged enough that it doesn’t stink, or at least I can’t smell it. My dogs don’t roll in it either. When I order the compost from Ebb, he always asks what I’m going to use it for. He says he has different mixture recipes for flower gardens, landscape, and lawns, whatever that means. I tell him it’s for my iris gardens.

About the Gro-Power Flower ‘n’ bloom fertilizer I use: It’s from Walter Andersen’s in 50 pound sacks. About the Ada Perry’s Magic Rose mix: You can purchase it premixed at Walter Andersen’s, but I like to mix up my own. I shake and stir these ingredients together in a five gallon paint bucket:

1 three pound bag of Miracle Gro organic bone meal (from Home Depot),

1 three pound bag of Miracle Gro organic blood meal (from Home Depot),

½ cup of garden Epsom salts,

½ cup of granular garden sulfur,

1 cup of ironite and

8 cups of gypsum.

Over the years of frantically searching for the elusive index soil amendment recipe card, I have learned to write this recipe on the inside lid of the 5 gallon bucket so it is easy to find when it is time to replenish the bucket.

More purchasing info:

• Pennington Epsom salts comes in 7 pound bag from Home Depot

• Classic stone gypsum in 40 pound bag from Home Depot

• Ironite in 20 pound bag from Home Depot

• Growmore granular soil sulfur in 4 pound box from Walter Andersen

My irises love this mix. They are growing like crazy.

If you want to know more about growing irises, come to one of our meetings. We usually meet the second Sunday at 1:00pm at the Lakeside Historical Society building at 9906 Maine Avenue, Lakeside. But be sure to check our Welcome Page which shows our current schedule. We often have special events that take place of our monthly meeting, and we don't meet in July or August.

Happy gardening!

Claire Schneider

Click here to print the pdf that includes all this info

Photo of tall bearded iris 'Camera Ready' growing in Claire Schneider's Ramona garden.