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Wow... pleasantly tired for a bit - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
John

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Wow... pleasantly tired for a bit [Jul. 18th, 2011|11:21 am]
John
So... I promised myself I wouldn't become *that* homeowners, slave to the perfect lawn.

But I've also become very curious about the nature of growing things, because I now have space on which things grow.

(And have I shared my observation that weeding is a good metaphor for the mind? In healthy earth, *something* will grow, for good or ill. So if you care to control what grows, you must grow something else there first. So it is with the mind, and if one's mind is punishing, sometimes keeping it busy is a good thing. This might reduce the number of "weeds", possibly to a manageable number.)

And I've had the wonder of doing a bit of digging, and then adding some grass seed, and seeing it spring up quickly. But my lawn, as a lawn, is horrible.

I've learned that parts of my lawn are choked with moss. Raking (especially after it rains) helps.

But I've also learned something about my back lawn. I was going to dig up a bad patch, fill it with topsoil, and plant it with fresh seed. (Per an expert, this is *not* the best time. But its the time I have....)

So, I took my digging fork (sometimes incorrectly called a "pitch fork", but a pitch fork has thinner, sharper tines) and threw it down and... and it went in about an inch. Maybe two. So, I took my big, heavy foot encased in my new-ish Red Wing hiking boots, and stomped... and it didn't move. Or, rather, it didn't go down; it *moved*.

I spent about 2 minutes doing this, and finally went and... well.

I have a pick mattock on long term loan from a foundation contractor who bailed on the job. (He's welcome to have it back any time he comes and asks for it. But he never has, and I don't have contact information.) I took the cutting edge, and found that I could cut the sod pretty darn neatly with it... because the ground under the sod was so compacted it provided a perfect cutting surface.

I cut about 2 square feet of sod, and the broke up the soil (which feels like compressed dust) underneath. I dug out some of it, and filled the rest with about a cubic foot of top soil. I think I now have a reasonable texture and have almost got it evened out. And, I found that the new soil will soak up about 4 gallons of water. I've planted grass seed, and hopefully, it will sprout, and *hopefully*, I won't have put in too little soil (so it will turn into a giant divot) or too much (which will be a bit of a mound - but better that than a divot.)

This, by itself, is far more work than I ever planned to put into a lawn. But if I understand what I've read right, the mixing of the top soil and compressed dust will help soften the dust, improve the drainage, and make the surrounding area a bit healthier too.

Plus, if it does help, it'll be awfully neat to reclaim the yard, a small bit at a time. It would probably be easier, and maybe even more economical, to hire someone with a rototiller to re-do the entire yard for me, but right now, I want to keep learning about how this works. The rototiller approach would feel like a premature surrender.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: erin_c_1978
2011-07-18 07:12 pm (UTC)
Much luck to you in whipping your lawn into shape!
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[User Picture]From: jhetley
2011-07-18 07:39 pm (UTC)
What's so bad about moss? Doesn't need to be mowed, stays green, soft underfoot . . .
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[User Picture]From: wyang
2011-07-19 12:48 pm (UTC)

Rototilling, jackhammering, and other power tools for the home owner...

Just an observation, if you're in DIY mode.

You can usually rent the power tools that you're only going to need once in a blue moon. Here in Ohio, Home Depot, Lowes and the other big box hardware stores have rental services. If you do so, I strongly advise you to borrow or rent a pickup truck with an open bed. I speak from experience: I didn't do that and, even ignoring the way the rototiller tore the tailgate off our mini van and how it injured my hand doing it, it's a lot easier to load major wheeled power tools in and out of a pickup truck. ;-)

Here in Ohio, the tiller was pretty inexpensive... $40 or so plus gas.
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[User Picture]From: laurarey
2011-07-19 01:44 pm (UTC)
Random thought:
Sometimes when we don't plant all the space we have, things we would never have thought to plant, sprout and delight us.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2011-07-19 07:11 pm (UTC)
Heh. Yes, that fits my "gardening for the mind" metaphor perfectly, too (which I suspect might have been your point :-) ).
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[User Picture]From: laurarey
2011-07-19 07:38 pm (UTC)
Could be. :)
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