Friday, June 27, 2008

A Bit of Progress

This is how our back yard looked a month ago. There were no leaves, and Z was weed-eating the rough section we are working on.

This is how that area looks now, after I've rototilled it twice. It rained for 2 weeks steady after the first time I tilled the yard. This week it finally dried enough to till the yard a second time. The chunks of sod sprouted more grass, so Z had to weed-eat the area again before I could till it.
This is how us "poor folks" landscape our yards. Each time, after I finish tilling, I shovel dirt from the high areas to the low areas. Then I let the newly turned soil dry out before I till, and shovel, again. Eventually, the whole area will consist of loose, rakeable soil that can be sloped to drain properly. Then we'll be able to seed the area and tamp down the soil. We don't have a lawn roller, so we tamp the newly seeded soil by walking on scraps of plywood.

We've always had kids, dogs, and a variety of wildlife in our yard, so we never use poisons. The only fertilizer we use is compost. We have never watered our lawn, except for newly seeded areas. For these conditions, we choose grass seed that's a mix of perennial ryegrass and clover. Within a couple of years, native grasses usually take over the seeded areas. That's fine with us. We're not "lawn Nazi's", who have to have a pedigreed lawn. If it's green and comes back every summer, we're happy. We just endured a 3 year drought, and our lawn was always green, even though we didn't water it. An added bonus is the bunnies and bees love the clover in our lawn. With bees on the decline, this is a huge plus!

We also never worry about dandelions. Our summers are too short to spend them poisoning or digging up every dandelion that pops up. What I find really amusing is that our lawn has fewer dandelions than the lawns of all the people that are fighting them. Relax, and enjoy the cheery yellow. Besides, with our economy, we all might be eating dandelion green salads, and drinking dandelion wine before long.


I couldn't resist taking a picture of this lovely cartload of compost. What a load of loamy lusciousness!

26 Comments:

At 6/28/2008 6:41 AM, Blogger mister anchovy said...

I don't use any poisons in my yard either. I'm the only dandelion control...I pull them out when I notice them.

 
At 6/28/2008 9:32 AM, Blogger Jeannie said...

I never used poisons either and had to replace my entire lawn this year. sigh.

Around here, you can rent a lot of heavier equipment - including rollers, for a half day or whatever. Maybe you should check that out if it might help your efforts. If the cost is too high, see if your neighbors want their lawns rolled too and charge them a fee (or share the cost of renting the machine).

 
At 6/28/2008 12:18 PM, Blogger Courtney said...

And dandelion fritters!!!

 
At 6/28/2008 12:23 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Mr A, your yard is planted so efficiently that I didn't think a dandelion would stand a chance there!

Jeannie, MY neighbors?! Hahahaha! My neighbors, who are brothers living on adjoining property, don't mow, or even cut up fallen trees in their yards. They've got too much junk in their yards to mow.

It's not a large enough area to justify the expense of renting anything. Although I'd LOVE to rent a Bobcat! The 3 of us, with our boards, can have it all packed down within an hour.

 
At 6/28/2008 12:24 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Courtney, do you use the head, or the greens for the fritters? That sounds interesting!

 
At 6/28/2008 8:15 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Hey the reason I'm paying someone to landscape is that I don't have a clue, nor do I have the physical ability to do it.

Agree re pesticides.

 
At 6/28/2008 9:42 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Bridg, there's no way I could do all this by myself. Every time we start a project in one area of the yard, another area gets neglected and quickly becomes overgrown.

It's a good thing you and I live in areas with short growing seasons, or we'd have the outdoors taking over our houses. ;)

 
At 6/29/2008 5:57 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

ummm.... "that wonderful, loamy smeeling stuff" in the wheel barrow looks suspiciously like the sheep manure my Dad used to bring home for his flower garden. Might explain my aversion to yard work!

I am proud to say I dont use any poisons or chemicals on my lawn either. Course, my lawn looks like crap and the neighbors constantly complain about it, but when the chemicals in the river make it unsafe to use, they won't be able to point theri jagged little fingers at ME!

 
At 6/29/2008 9:35 PM, Blogger VV said...

Yeah, love your yard. We don't use any chemicals or fertilizers either. My attitude is, if it's green, it grows, it's not prickly or poisonous, and we can mow it, it's a suitable substitute for grass. Um, except ivy. Ivy is the bane of our existence right now. :-)

 
At 6/30/2008 9:23 AM, Blogger Hammer said...

Great job. Your yard is going to look great.

 
At 6/30/2008 10:44 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

You will get your yard looking just great sooner or later. Glad its stopped raining long enough to get some work done. If you are getting e-mails from me other than what you normally would I am not doing it. I have a post up about what is going on. I got screwed in the process some where.

 
At 6/30/2008 1:24 PM, Blogger CA said...

Boy, that turned ground takes me back! When I was a kid in the 50s, we had an area where Mom planted her garden. The problem was Bermuda (Moody) grass. It just about took over during the non-growing season. To get it ready for planting, we would wet it all down and let it sit for a while to soften up the ground then turn the entire plot with shovels. Then, after the dirt clods were turned, we would get down on our knees and go along the rows and shake the dirt out of the moody grass and throw the grass away. It was pretty hard work for us kids but it was worth it. Most of what was grown there, potatoes, okra, corn, bell peppers and mostly Kentucky Wonder and Virginia Climbers snapping beans and peas were canned up and used for beef stew Mother canned and stored to be eaten in the winter time. It was great!

 
At 6/30/2008 1:27 PM, Blogger CA said...

'oops'... "...When I was a kid in the 50s..." shoulda been: "When I was a kid in the 40s..."

 
At 6/30/2008 7:55 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

GWB, hi stranger; we MISS you!

I figure the corporate farmers and lawn Nazis put enough chemicals in the environment without us adding to it. :(

VV, that's EXACTLY our attitude; if it's green, and grows, mow it. ;)

Hammer, we'll get there eventually.

CA, we've only had our rototiller for 20 yrs. Before that we turned the dirt just like you described. Those days make me appreciate our old, hard-working tiller! ;)
That's the kind of native grasses I was talking about. It makes great lawns, but it's a pain everywhere else...especially in our driveway!

 
At 7/01/2008 4:01 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

I was gonna say. if life gives you dandelions, make dandelion wine - but you beat me to it!

 
At 7/01/2008 7:00 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

DC, when I was a kid, we had a neighbor that made FANTASTIC dandelion wine! My Dad said it was good because he picked the dandelions where our dog peed. ;)

 
At 7/02/2008 7:49 PM, Blogger zydeco fish said...

That brings back memories. I remember picking dandelions from a huge field at my grandparents' house for my dad to make dandelion wine. It just occurred to me that I never got to taste the wine. I like you yard philosophy, especially the no poisons rule.

 
At 7/02/2008 8:04 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ZS, LOL, I didn't get a taste either, but everybody said it tasted like a "fine" white wine.

 
At 7/02/2008 8:05 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

I've eaten my share of dandelion greens and also made some of that wine too - complete with my own titration kit.

I think you could write a book on eco-friendly living. Wish you would.

I'm happy with grass, as long as its there, doesn't have to be perfect - I was sweating the time i came back and found it half gone - it came back on its own with a bit of tender loving care...

 
At 7/03/2008 4:46 PM, Blogger La Cremiere said...

It takes a lot of love, care and patience to do what you're doing. It s for a good cause. I love dandelions, and all sorts of wild flowers. I know they ruin lawns but they are just lovely, colourful, resilient. If I ever have a garden, I'll section it so that I can have a nice green lawn and a wild field. It'd probably be in my dreams only because home with gardens are very expensive here.

 
At 7/03/2008 5:41 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Gardenia, I think it's easier to not get stressed over a perfect lawn here, as it's covered by snow 2/3 of the year.

LC, it is a labor of love!
We own 10 lots here. We live on 5 lots. The other 5 lots are wooded and wild, so I guess we have the sectioned off garden you crave. ;)

 
At 7/04/2008 12:38 AM, Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Happy 4th of July, Tshsmom!

I leave the dandelions, too. I told the girls that the leaves are edible and are good and full of vitamins and minerals.

 
At 7/04/2008 2:09 PM, Blogger Cherie said...

Wonderful. You guys inspire.

Green green and no snow. Bring on the bbq!

That compost - ahhh, such a lovely sight.

 
At 7/04/2008 2:19 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Grizz, Happy 4th to you!
I read somewhere that dandelions are actually an herb...sure wish I could remember WHERE I read that. ;)

Cherie, Green green...I like that! That shall become our family gardening motto!

I took that compost picture with you in mind. ;)

 
At 7/06/2008 10:44 AM, Blogger Squirl said...

I don't like to use poison, either. But I'm close to tempted with all of the mosquitoes that we've had. I do a lot of watering since I have a lot of flowers. Probably doesn't help the mosquito situation. :-)

 
At 7/06/2008 7:17 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Squirl, you gotta water flowers and vegetables! Except here this year...we're all bailing out our gardens. :(
The one bright spot to the mosquito situation is that they're easy to swat, as they're so huge this year.

 

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