Saturday, July 10, 2010

Guide to Growing the Green Stuff

No I don’t mean money. And no I don’t mean that other green plant that so many seem to adore. Quite simply, I mean grass. Yes. Plain old ordinary grass. The stuff that lawns are made of. The stuff where kids frolic in the summer. The stuff…well you get the point. Green grass.

Just over a week ago we set out on a mission to grow grass. To create what might resemble a little bit of a yard outside our patio and under a great big pine tree. We thought it would be a difficult task. That the grass would need a little bit of coaxing and if all else failed, a whole lot of Miracle Gro. Much to our pleasant surprise, that has not be the case at all.

First you should know, we live in an apartment that is managed by a management company. We have a landlord. What made up our yard previously could only be described as complete laziness. The entire area beneath the tree was covered in this black paper and that in turn was covered in mulch. The reasoning behind it that previous tenants didn’t care for it and too many weeds were growing that they finally just covered it up.

I have been in this apartment complex for 6 years but in a different apartment. One on the third floor that the idea of a yard really made no difference. Last year we moved to a bottom floor unit because of the ever-growing and ever-moving toddler. Also the fact that there are no elevators in our building and carrying groceries up the stairs was a complete pain in the butt. Well this year we extended our lease because the management company reduced our rent. At the thought of staying her another year we had to make the area around our unit more child friendly. The mulch would dig into feet and there was just no place to really enjoy anything. So we went to the landlord and asked if we could tear up the black paper and get rid of the mulch and try to plant grass. The result? Well who is going to turn down free maintenance to make the yards look better?

Here’s how it went…

1. Trim the branches around the base of the tree to allow as much natural air, sun and water to reach. We trimmed  about 6 feet from the ground.

2. Tear up the black paper and get rid of the mulch.

3. Wet the dry ground A LOT.

4. Till up the dirt. Use a shovel or pitchfork and get down as deep as possible then smooth it all out and add more water. You want the water to actually be absorbed into the ground.

5. Spread some grass seed evenly over the tilled area. Water, water, water.

6. Add some new soil. The stuff we got was Black Earth and I think there was a little fertilizer in it too. Add more grass seed. Water, water, water.

7. Pray a little. We really thought it was going to be much more difficult to get the grass growing if it was even going to happen at all. Very little sun reaches the area under the tree. And even if it rains, not much water gets there unless it’s manually added. 

The bag said we wouldn’t see anything for at least a couple of weeks. We watered daily and it even rained a little in between.

And what do you know? Yesterday (6 days after we spread the first seeds) we saw little green shoots coming up through the soil. Amazed and thrilled that it was actually working, we gave the ground a good watering. The temperature has been in the high 20’s to low 30’s most of the week. Yesterday 32. Hubby watered and raked and even added a little more seed yesterday. This morning…holy moly. Those little sprouts were busy last night. We didn’t have to get down on the ground and search for the sprouts. They are everywhere. Tiny and still spread out, but they are there.

You might be thinking so what. But for anyone knows me, plants do not fair well under my direction. But hubby on the other hand, does have a green thumb. I really had doubts that it would work. Thought if we saw anything at all it wasn’t going to be until next year sometime. (Shows what I know about growing grass).

I can’t take much the credit. It really was all Mr. Green Thumb.

But I did do most of the praying.

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