Everyone knows or practically everyone knows, that fall is the ideal time to get the lawn in shape for the winter. We gave ours an early feeding with fertilizer, and seeded some of the spots that had suffered during the summer. Black dirt was lightly sprinkled over the new seed, and it is surprising what a quick start and vigorous growth it made.
I do not think our lawn has ever gone through the winter in better shape, and SOON it will get another light feeding. In spite of everything, there always seem to be a few spots that show up bare this time of year. I have to walk out over the lawn to find them, but they are there. Runners will fill many of these spots during the coming weeks, but I like to give them an assist.
Good seed is too expensive to waste. It does not pay to sow anything but GOOD seed. Weeds will fill up the bare spots, without your sowing them. So, almost any time now, I will go over the lawn with a bucket of seed and a bucket of black dirt. (If you don’t have good weed-free black dirt you had better use peat moss, milled spagnum moss, or you can use vermiculite) .
In each bare spot I will scatter a pinch of seed, and cover it lightly with the mulch. Unless the ground is pretty wet, I will sprinkle this down with the hose. Likewise unless we get a shower now and then (and it isn’t too late to get some snow here) I’ll give it an occasional sprinkling.
Just remember that blue grass likes cool moist weather. It would not germinate until the ground warms up. If your seed is just on the surface, remember that the ground dries out on top pretty quick. So no germination. Or if it has germinated, and the ground gets dry, the roots will very likely die before they get a foothold. So you can readily see the advantage of the mulch to help hold the moisture until the seed is able to take care of itself.
As you undoubtedly have guessed by now, I am pretty happy just grass happy with our front yard. This is the side our friends and neighbors see. Actually I see more of the back yard. No one has ever heard me brag about that. There is a pretty large area just in grass, and we like the unbroken expanse.
Our back yard has all the customary pasture weeds, plus the crab grass. Fertilizing and spraying has helped, but still the area is not of what you might call bragging quality.
So this year I am going to use some of the weed seed killers that are put on in dry form right along with the fertilizer. And I am going to use some extra feedings. Yes, I know that means more mowing, but that is what mowers are made for, so why not use them. Especially when you can ride. I always did like that feature.
But I really have another reason in fact a pair of reasons. In the first place, nothing will crowd out and smother weeds like vigorously growing grass. But I will also mulch the garden. Oh yes, I know some of the experts say do not use grass cuttings for a mulch. But I shall ignorantly go on doing it. The flowers, shrubs and trees, it seems, never heard of this and like me, they are too ignorant to know better than to like it.
There are just two things to do. First, stack it up and let it go through the heating process until it has dried out or cured. Second, it does take extra nitrogen on account of the bacterial action in decomposing. So I either put on straight nitrogen or use a complete fertilizer if I think that is needed.
Nothing is more discouraging to weeds than to try to grow up through a heavy mulch. Likewise, mulch certainly helps hold the moisture in. Maybe this will be another year of good rainfall.
When I was a youngster a frequently used expression and maybe it is still used, was Zip, I caught a yellow jacket, Zip, I let him go again.
And so I did. The other afternoon I was walking through the back yard, when I became conscious of something on my left forefinger. I instinctively closed my thumb and started to roll it between thumb and finger. Something told me I would better look at what I had. It just happened to be a yellow jacket. Did I ever shake him loose quick like?!
It was warm enough for him to be out, but still cold enough that he was just a bit too slow on the backward push.