My yard is in the midst of a long overdue landscape makeover. Since we moved into this house over two years ago, there’s been little time to plant. However, I’ve spent a great deal of time prepping the soil with leaf compost and lots of shredded mulch, where appropriate. This explains why nothing is planted at the moment.
I think my friend, Paul Tukey – founder of Safelawns.org, would be pleased. The day I arrived I knew this lawn and garden’s chemical days were over. This picture is a nice testament that you can have a lush lawn if you choose – without the need to douse it with synthetic fertilizers, weed and feed, or anything else synthetic for that matter.
One of the first things I did was to reduce the size of the lawn to make way for more interesting and biodiverse plantings. I keep the small amount of grass that remains looking good with a few simple steps that anyone can do:
First, I keep it mowed at the high end of the scale for my type of grass (fescue) – about 3″. This promotes deep roots, and the taller blades help shade out and out-compete sun-loving weeds. I also water deeply but infrequently, only about once a week at most. By promoting deep roots and conditioning the plants to seek their water source further into the soil, my lawn is naturally more drought-tolerant.
To keep emerging weeds at bay, I used my favorite handheld weeding device, my trusty CobraHead. This tool makes weeding a lot more fun. Of all the hand tools I’ve used for weeding, none compare to this baby. It feels good in my hand, gets the deep tap-rooted weeds all the way out, and is the perfect precision cultivator too. I think I’ve found uses for it the inventor doesn’t even know about yet. I’m so glad I have this tool, and if you don’t yet, you should look into getting one. It’s well worth the small investment!
For fertilizer around my house, compost is king. I use a lot of it, and my lawn is very happy. Speaking of fertilizer, each fall and late winter I also apply corn gluten. It’s primarily marketed as an organic pre-emergent, but it happens to contain nitrogen as a natural component as well. Since I grass cycle, additional nitrogen is added back into the soil every time I mow.
It’s a great feeling knowing that I’m feeding my soil with earth and family-friendly nutrients and seeing such great, sustainable results in my lawn and garden too.