My May Garden 2013

I am a woman obsessed! Work gets slow in May, so I end up taking a lot of half-days and long weekends. Do I head off to the beach or the mountains? No. I head outside to my garden… and I just can’t stop…

If you follow this blog, you’ve no doubt seen my other gardening posts, and you’ve seen that my flower beds and vegetable gardens are my pride and joy. My lawn, on the other hand, is the family embarrassment.

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I just don’t care much about my lawn. If it’s vaguely green that’s good enough for me, because in an ideal world I’d get rid of the grass altogether — at least in the front yard. Of course, replacing a lawn is a big and expensive job, so I’m chipping away at it gradually. I just purchased a crabapple tree, which doesn’t make much of a dent in the amount of grass out there, but in time it will provide shade (which there is almost none of in my entire yard). But it’s been a dry spring here, and my not-so-hot lawn is getting pretty fried.

Out back, it’s a dustbowl — or at least part of the yard is. One corner, where I had a dog run before the whole thing was fenced, is a DISASTER. Last week, when my friend’s dog was visiting, she and Maybelle lived it up out there and stirred up the dustbowl. They would come in covered in dirt… Something must be done!

There are a lot of problems with the soil out front. It’s compacted, likely acidic, and was treated very badly before I got here. There’s also, probably, a small grub issue. As you might imagine, I’m not one to spend a ton of time or money on the grass so I’ve been casting around for cheap/free organic solutions to improve the soil and therefore the longterm health of the the grass.

The lack of rain has not been helping. My rain barrel has been a savior for the garden plants, but I’m not watering the lawn with it (or at all). But when rain finally appeared in the forecast again, I decided it was time to get to work. I decided to go with lime and coffee grounds.

I’ve found mixed-reviews on both, but figured it couldn’t hurt. The plan was to use a spreader to put them down on Tuesday evening before the rain started on Wednesday. Tuesday afternoon I was sitting outside with my laptop, hard at work, when I started to feel rain drops. So I decided to put the email aside, and hurry to spread my lime and coffee in case a deluge was coming. Of course, my spreader didn’t want to cooperate. So I ended up frantically tossing lime and coffee grounds around my yard as the rain started to come down.

I think I’ll need to apply again, especially the coffee grounds, but that’s pretty much the least I could do…literally.

The other project that’s competing for my attention right now is the space at the back of my yard, beyond the fence, where I had some very large, very scary pines taken down this winter. Most people wouldn’t bother sprucing up the space beyond the fence, but I had a private road behind me. So I am both trying to make it prettier and more private. Also, just leaving bare dirt back there would be an invitation to weeds (not to mention erosion and runoff) and considering all the stumps that remain and how uneven the terrain is, it would be impossible to mow.

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I started by getting some forsythia and holly bushes. The forsythia are inside the fence, and the holly on the outside strategically placed to, someday, provide more privacy. But right now the holly are no more than a foot high, so I also threw down some wildflower seed. I put some daffodils out there so I could see them from my office window, and have since added columbine, and gayfeather. I planted some paperwhite bulbs I’d gotten as a gift, creeping jenny I found at Agway (to provide some ground cover), and ornamental grasses my neighbor was looking to get rid of. Then another neighbor brought me some irises she’d dug up. If this keeps up, I’ll fill in all that empty space in no time.

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