I have heard from several of our followers, “When is the next blog coming?” We mostly stayed home this summer to try to get a couple of projects started and maybe finished. So here is some catch up…
Watching the Grass Grow
We live in the woods, shade is nice for almost everything but grass. After we built our house the grass seemed to grow pretty well for a while. Since then the trees have had almost 20 years to get taller and wider and now produce more shade. Lots more shade. The yard on north side of the house suffers the most. It also has a pretty good slope. We have tried to grow new grass with out much success. This year we raked up all the scruffy old grass, loosened up the soil, put down lots of lime, a bunch of stuff to prevent moss, starter fertilizer and about 5 times as much shade mix grass seed as they suggested at the Vermillion Elevator.
The Vermillion Elevator (in Vermillion, of course) is an old time, small town co-op feed and grain supplier to the local farms and a grain elevator. Trucks drive in, get weighed and dump their grain loads into large storage silos. They sell just about everything else you might need for your farm and yard there too. Grass seed mixes in bulk. I got 25 lbs of a shade mix. And two 8 ft wide by 100 ft long rolls of a straw mat cover too.
We covered the seeded hill side with the straw mats. We put in a temporary sprinkler system and watered a little bit often at first and then longer and less often as the grass started poking its way through the grass mat. Neat! More water, more time, more grass. Eventually we had to mow and that worked OK. Green is nice.
By mid-summer we had a pretty nice crop of grass! By September most of the fast, first up grasses in the mix were done and the whole new lawn looked thinner, not so green.
We got a suggestion to over-seed late in the season. That new grass should come up in the spring. Great idea. The suggested equipment was a slit seeder. It supposedly puts cuts in the ground into which the seed and starter fertilized falls and waits for spring. It sounded like a great idea. We rented a slit seeder, got more seed and starter fertilizer and got busy. On the shady, east side of the front yard it seemed to work well. The machine didn’t really have discs that made slits in the ground rather it had about a dozen spinning wheels a couple inches apart that looked more like circular saw blades with about 8 teeth each.
Down the hill and in the back yard where the straw mats were it didn’t work as well. The straw mats are made with a coarse mesh of very fine biodegradable fibers. The folks at the elevator said is should degrade by the end of the summer. Perhaps so if it had been in the sun. The whirling saw blades snagged the mats and wound them around the saw blades until the machine just stopped. It took an hour to cut off the tangled mess. This did a real number on what was left of our mats and remaining crop of grass.
Oh well. We finished over-seeding and are just going to hope for the best in the spring.
More Later, Much Love
Roger and Susan