email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Thursday, September 24, 2015

To Lawn Or Not To Lawn




There is progress on the newly bared areas in the front and back yards!  I never intended to plant grass everywhere (and I'm not).  There is something about bare soil that makes me think more of flowers and shrubs than grass. 

The only thing lawn is really good for is croquet and mowing.  But tradition (and community rules) require lawn, so the front yard area has been totally reseeded.  I rototilled the soil, leveled it, raked it so the surface was rough, put down grass seed (Rebel brand turf-type fescue), then raked it all again carefully. 

The 2nd raking was to slightly cover the grass seed (helps to hide it from hungry birds).  That was Tuesday of last week.  I've watered it lightly every day since, and yesterday I saw the first grass sprouts.  Hurray!  It seems to be coming up quite nicely. 

Before...
And After...
I'll keep watering it lightly for a couple more days until I'm sure all the grass that is going to sprout has done so.  Then I'll water more deeply to encourage the roots to grow downward.  We might get some steady rain Sunday/Monday, so maybe that will take care of the watering.

So I turned my attention to the back yard.  There won't be much new grass there!  I plan one large part of it to be a home for the invasively spreading Lysimachia Firecracker (2' high with purple leaves and small yellow flowers), Coneflowers, Goldenrod, and Black-Eyed Susan.  It will be surrounded by mowable grass, so it is welcome to try to spread, LOL!

The 2nd area will also be surrounded by grass but will have perennial wildflowers.  The wildflower package I bought is rather vague on the types of seeds included, so I hope to be happy next year.  If not, I can spread seeds of other wildflower mixes.

I laid out 200' of edging yesterday (view from the deck)...
The hard part is setting the edging in the ground.  The far side is the hardest; mostly gravelly soil.  I've had to use a pick to loosen the soil (in spite of having rototilled it) and a narrow trenching shovel to scoop the material out.  It's been tiring.  But my practical rule of projects is "Do the hard parts first and it gets easier as you go".  Only part of the area is gravelly; the rest is the softer soil from under the former ridge and woodland area.  So I'm suffering through the gravelly part first.

Fortunately, there is no rush.  The perennial wildflower instruction say to plant about 3 weeks before the first hard frost, and that is usually in early November.  And I can't transplant the existing Lysimachia, Coneflower, Goldenrod, and Black-Eyed Susan until they go dormant about then either.  The good part about waiting a while is that I can water the soil now to encourage weed seeds to germinate and then use my scuffle hoe to cut them off just below the soil.
 
The transplantings mean good news for the existing flowerbeds.  With the transplants gone, there will be several areas free for new plants.  I plan to start more annual plants inside next Spring for those areas.  I went with perennials years ago for "lack of maintenance".  Hah!  Weeding around individual plants every year is a lot harder than just turning the whole area each year and sticking new plants in.  Besides, annuals bloom all season long... 

1 comment:

Megan said...

It's going to look tremendous next season Mark.

Megan
Sydney, Australia