Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Thursday, June 06, 2002 Something unexpected is happening to the barren, black wasteland of my back yard. It’s turning green.
It shouldn’t be unexpected, because I did actually spend part of my Memorial Day weekend scratching grass seeds into the ground. I just didn’t think much of my chances of seeing any trace of them ever again. Especially after the thunderstorm two days later that I was sure had washed them into Lake Harriet. I’ve seeded the area before, and I’ve had it seeded by professionals. The results have always been the same as they would have been if I had gone over the lawn with a drop-spreader full of Cajun seasoning.
I wasn’t terribly optimistic about this time, either. I was just determined. Believe it or not, this time around I actually have followed the directions on the seed bag and watered the lawn twice a day, except on the days when it rained. I suppose I could have watered on those days too, but I’ll jump all over any excuse to be lazy and the neighbors think I’m weird enough as it is.
After last Tuesday’s post saying I’d planted new grass, a friend of ours in Michigan (the grad school classmate of Trash’s I mentioned the other day) sent me an e-mail detailing a way that you can prep soil before you try to grow a new lawn. There’s this whole process involving multiple layers of dirt and compost and peat moss and cardboard boxes and live worms. Do it right and you can make rich, hearty loam out of cat litter. Apparently it makes the soil so fertile that you can drop the severed head of Lex Luthor on the ground and it’ll grow hair in a matter of hours. Seriously. It’s been attempted, with great success. It’ll even grow a full beard in moist climates.
If our friend had known I was planning to re-seed, I’m sure she would have e-mailed me about this process in advance. All I can say is thank God she didn’t, because it sounds like a whole lot more work than complaining about my bare-naked yard.
It got me thinking, though. Maybe this was the reason I’d never been able to grow grass back there; I just wasn’t trying hard enough. Over the next few days, I’d be driving around town, and I’d see all these yards where people were really making an effort to get some grass growing . I’d see bare patches that had been liberally dosed with whatever that teal-colored crap is. There were areas where people had covered their yards with cheesecloth or tarps, as if their property was a third-degree-burn victim or something. Others had erected stone circles and kept them staffed 24/7 with chanting Druids. These people, I realized, were not. Fooling. Around. In a couple of weeks, their toddlers would be gamboling barefoot on a luxuriously verdant natural carpet while I’d still be spending an hour a day hosing down a forbidding moonscape to keep the rising dust from blinding the crews of aircraft passing overhead.
Except something happened to my forbidding moonscape. It turned into a luxuriously verdant natural carpet. I guess the soil was in better shape than I thought.
Okay, to be honest, we’re still a long way from luxuriously verdant. A more accurate phrase might be “intermittently patchy,” but it still looks better than it has in years. I don’t know why it’s working this time. Maybe it’s all the branches my dad and I have sawed off the tree, which functioned as a gigantic beach umbrella. Maybe it’s the fact that I didn’t wait until mid-July before getting the seeds in the ground (or, to be more precise, on the ground), sparing them their usual race to germinate before they bake like tater-tots. Maybe it’s all the rain we’ve been getting this past week, which has combined with my watering to transform the yard into a very small rice paddy. Maybe it’s the high-quality Scott™ brand grass seed, in which case it richly deserves the plug I just gave it.
Either way, I plan to enjoy my success, as well as the greatly improved view out the back window. All I have to do now is wait for it to die so I never have to mow it.
What? You want pictures? Oh, okay.