How's the weather where you are? We've been having a lot of rain lately, here in London, Ontario. Not so much as caused floods in Manitoba, for which I'm grateful! I've been noticing that even though it's rainy and cooler than normal most everything outside is growing. The pear tree went through its bloom period. The apple trees and crab apple are just about done bloom. Oregano, coreopsis, anthemis, yarrow, kale, comfrey, catmint and catnip, peppermint, lavenders, and maral root are all growing at a great rate.
And the grass is growing, alongside the dandelions, spurge, soapwort and heal-all.
Dandelions! I've heard a lot of complaints about dandelions lately, as in "see what happens when you stop using pesticides ... there's nothing but dandelions."
Well, I'll admit that there are more dandelions on home and business and waste areas, but it's because when people were told they couldn't use pesticides - the easy way out - people were too lazy to take the dandelions out. Neither did they aerate their lawns, put down compost and scatter grass seed. Even people who pay money to the lawn control companies seem to be paying for a package of services that doesn't include putting down grass seed to get more grass. I know this because I watch dozens of locations on my way to work, including one property just across the street from me (and where, when asked, I advised them years ago about how to have a durable lawn with a high percentage of turf grass). But there's not been any grass seed put in in the last three years.
And what it comes down to is that to get grass you have to put down grass seed. Grass grows from grass seed. Most lawns get mowed before the grass naturally goes to seed, so you have to add grass seed to get more grass. Can I be clearer?
Grass grows from grass seed. Only grass seed.
Grass grows from grass seed that has been put into a soil that is ready for it:
- Remove weeds to remove weed seeds, and to give growing room to new grass roots - ‘Soften’ the soil by aeration, hard raking, and/or adding compost
Grass grows from grass seed, in soil that is ready for it, and that is watered properly during the [up to] three week germination time of the grass seeds and for 6-8 weeks of early root development.
Think of the amount of grass that could have grown this rainy season if people had followed that simple advice above!
Why's Woman's 4-L Philosophy says that taking care of your garden requires four actions:
- Learn about the plants you want to grow and how to make healthy soil
- Look around at your plants and soil - observe the plants. Look at your own desires for a garden, and look at the time you have for gardening.
- Labour. Yes, you have to do some work.
- Love. Love your plants, yourself, your loved ones' health, the planet. Love the dandelions as well as the grass.
The most useful book I’ve run across is by Paul Tukey. The Organic Lawn Care Manual: a natural, low-maintenance system for a beautiful, safe lawn. Storey Publishing, 2007. Website: www.safelawns.org [even has videos!] For sale at Lee Valley Tools and book stores [10 copies in London Public Library system: 635.9647 Tuk]
Tomorrow I'll post 10 lawn care tips.
For now, thanks for letting me let off a bit of steam. Turf grass lawns are not simple things. I get tired of listening to people complain, ask my advice and then just want short cuts (oh geez! that's almost punny!)