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I can’t believe I am spending money on grass!


Gaze at the majestic grass in the sunset, said no one...ever.

Gaze at the majestic grass in the sunset, said no one…ever.

For years, my secret plot has been to rid myself of as much lawn as possible (oops, not so secret anymore, huh?) I have mulched, and created shrub beds, and laid out veggie beds, and perennials, and even sneakily scooted the edging bricks out, expanding the width of every bed by 4 inches each year.
I hate grass- hate mowing, hate fertilizing, hate the amount of water it takes, hate the judgement of people driving by who see my dandelions and shake their heads.
And yet, I just spent 30 bucks on “Revive” an organic, Colorado made fertilizer/soil amendment/wetting agent. Wetting agent sounds gross- it has chelated iron in it, and “pure chicken-shit” as my brother says. (The label actually calls it DPW, which stands for dehydrated poultry waste, which means my brother is right.) The idea is that water will be able to soak in more deeply, and we will be able to water less frequently, but the grass will grow better.
It won’t kill dandelions, but maybe the grass will be able to out compete them? Those judgey people driving by will just have to find something else to judge me on….What will that turn out to be?

(Sorry to anyone who has missed me- the day job plus gardening has left me less time to write…no disasters on the home front, just normal busy-ness.)

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The goal- get them before they go to seed.


 

Plenty of nectar for bees, deep roots that accumulate nutrients, salad greens for the adventurous. What's not to love?

It does not fail- whenever my mom comes to visit, she comments that there is an excellent product called weed and feed, and it kills all the weeds, and fertilizes, too, and there’s even a generic version, if I think the name-brand is too expensive.
Argh. I’m polite, she is my mother, after all, and I say something like, “Oh, yes, we’ll have to look into it.” I don’t tell her that I don’t use pesticides because my kids play on the lawn, or because our storm sewers drain to the river, or because lawns are the leading cause of non-point water pollution. Saying that to her amounts to an attack- didn’t her kids play on the lawn? Her storm sewers drain to the entire Eastern United States (she’s in the mountains- headwaters of the Arkansas river…)
She doesn’t have any dandelions, though.
We’ve got enough for everyone.
Since I won’t use poison, I have to work on weeds the old fashioned way- with a paring knife, or sometimes a digger, or sometimes just bare hands. I have filled buckets this spring- they go into the compost pile, with a layer of dead leaves on top, and a scoop of soil. I am not sure if my compost gets hot enough to kill dandelion seeds- I haven’t been too scientific about it.
This year, for the first time, the kids have helped. I demonstrated how to lever the plants up at the crown, and offered to pay a dollar per bucket. It worked for a while- although I did see the boy blowing the seed heads off one that we missed. I don’t know what he wished for. More dandelions, I guess.

I realize that just popping them up out of the ground doesn’t get rid of them- they’re perennial, they have deep roots, they’ll keep coming back. But after May, they aren’t so bad- no yellow flowers bringing down property values, just green leaves. They aren’t prickly like thistle, or annoying like bindweed, or crazy making like mallow ( my least favorite weed) they’re just green.

Edited to add: My mom is really quite wonderful. Aside from a blindspot to herbicides, she is super smart, nice and caring. She also has dial up internet, so it’s possible she will never read this.  Also, I noticed today that some dandelions in the front yard have gone to seed. Curses!