Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Admitting defeat and moving forward anyway

Avoiding the parking strip today; apparently I have a very short attention span, at least when it comes to back-spasm-triggering hard work.

So my grand plan when I first starting thinking about the yard was to strip out all existing grass and weeds before planting clover seeds to replace the "lawn." Turns out that lacking a tractor, that's really hard. I was reading different accounts of starting a clover lawn online, and the consensus seems to be that starting a clover-only lawn from scratch is really hard. So I decided to cheat, and just over-seed the existing lawn with clover seeds.

Everything I've read about the clover seeds says that because the seeds are tiny, they should be mixed with some other medium. Since this was a spur of the moment seeding experiment, I just mixed the seeds in with some potting soil I had in the shed. The seeds are tiny; when I scooped up a handful, I ended up with little lines of seeds under each fingernail. My first plan was to put the soil-seed combo in the little hand-held, crank-operated seed spreader thing that the previous owners left behind, but it didn't like the texture of the soil. So I dug up a little trowel (also left behind by the previous owners) and just scattered soil-seeds. I focused mainly on the spots of bare dirt, but also threw some in amongst the grass that's coming back. I followed nothing resembling a logical patterns, and probably missed huge swatches of the yard, but oh well. Haphazard, right? Then I went over most of the spots with scattered seeds with a little more soil and gently showered it all with a little water.

My big concerns are that the bare spots are part of Pace's frequent laps around the yard, and that he'll just tear the seeds up, or that the blue jays that hang out will eat all the seeds. But since this is more or less an experiment, I'm not really that concerned. And if it seems like it works, I'll go over the area a couple more times to thicken up the clover patches. Maybe I'll take it out on the parking strip too. For beneath the thyme.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Guess October is gone. So much for yard clean up month.

Too warm weather combined with feeling absolutely wretched for the last several weeks have seriously stymied my yardening endeavors. There's been some rain in the last few weeks - yay! Except now my big brown yard is turning green with things that I don't want growing. The mint is back, not at all frustrated by the goats. The oxalis is taking over huge chunks of the yard. I actually don't mind the oxalis - it looks clovery and puts up pretty yellow flowers. But the city has cited us a couple times for having out of control oxalis in our front yard and along our parking strip. Really? Have they ever tried to get rid of it? Its impossible. And besides, its pretty. Sigh.

Anyway, since the ground is slightly damp from Saturday's rain, and since our parking strip is turning alarmingly green already, and, um, since I hid in my house and listened to the street cleaning guy take a shovel to the green stuff growing in the street along side our house (that's not our responsibility, right? If the street is in bad enough repair that green stuff can grow on the asphalt, surely that's the city's problem. Right?), I decided to take a stab at the parking strip this morning. I have long had plans for this evil strip, involving creeping thyme on the street side, and lavender and rosemary on the fence side. But today, I was just going to focus on getting rid of the green stuff coming up.

Armed with my handy new toy, the Garden Weasel , I set out with very great intentions. And discovered that my suspicions that yardening and morning sickness are not remotely compatible were completely correct. I knew this, but still I tried. With lots of little breaks and frequent reminders to myself not to pass out and/or throw up, I actually cleared about a quarter of the street side of the parking strip down to dirt - about 30 feet. Have I mentioned that the parking strip is half a block long? I also had the nice gentleman across the street doing a little happy dance as he described how excited he is to have recently gotten into growing things and had my local postal worker suggest just paving it over. Tempting.

Anyway, I guess I'll go out and try again tomorrow. I might run to the nursery this afternoon and pick up a few plugs of thyme - I cleared up enough to plant four or five plants, I think. Which when you think about it, is pretty cool.