[gardeners] Bad Day at Black Rock

drusus@golden.net (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sun, 26 Jul 1998 22:12:03 -0400

2 events today:  Mom and Junior Groundhog arrived about 10 am for
breakfast.  Len chased them away and I went out to garden about 1pm.
Junior made 3 more attempts for lunch and finally, i think, gave up.  At
least for today.  I'll be out there tomorrow until Len gets home with the
trap from the RSPCA.  They are interested in my new chard and spinach,
probably also my beans...anybody remember the squirrel problem with my
beans?  Anyway, I got them up, about 12-20 inches now.

The other event was investigating the iris patch which I augmented with
rhizomes from a private garden.  They were looking peaked (many things are
this summer with our stressful weather) so I jigged a couple up out of the
ground for a closer look and found very rotten rhizomes and a big fat ugly
grub waving at me from his restaurant inside the rhizome.  I have never
seen an iris borer in my life, but somehow or other I knew that's what it
was.  I checked Organic Gardening's pest book, and sure enough that's what
it is, accompanied by bacterial rot which is often associated with the

So now, dear gardening friends, especially those knowledgable about iris (I
know there is at least one on this list who is), how do I get rid of them?
I have already started digging up the entire bed and will check all my
rhizomes (I need to be outside watching for Mom and Junior anyway) but if
the leaves and my evening's digging so far are any indication the beast's
progress, I think my own stock in the front of the bed is mostly ok.  Some
imported Siberians there, but they are not so bothered by borers, I

The rhizomes are not so problematic as the soil.  Rhizomes I think I can
treat (but suggestions very welcome).  What do I do about the soil?  If
this grub is like most other grubs then one of them at least is still down
there despite my careful pitch-forking and turning of the back of the bed.
I found a good 1/2 dozen unattached to the rhizomes they apparently had

I am very tempted to pick up the phone and call the exterminator tomorrow.
I have a good lily bed not so very far away and would hate to see the
borers head that way after I remove their food supply tomorrow.

So that's my garden today.