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Brenda Husing
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Our yard has lots of weeds, all types of weeds. I am really wanting to keep the lawn care organic and not use chemicals, especially as we have a vegetable garden in our backyard. I spent hours upon hours picking dandelions this spring, put down some lime, fertilized with milorganite (not sure that this was the best choice) and obviously it was not what the yard was needing. I read through your Organic Lawn Care for the Cheap and Lazy and am inspired. I plan on contacting our Extensions office to see if they do soil testing and will follow through with the other directions as well. I just want to know if it is possible to make our lawn look decent. My husband is really wanting to just spray the lawn with Scotts chemicals, but it makes so much more sense to me to let the earth do what it is supposed to with the creatures that live in it and above it!

We did just buy the house 2 years ago and I am not sure what type of care the lawn received before we purchased (based on the 4 feet tall weed garden and unmanaged grape vines that were here, I would say not very good care, even though the last owner is a landscaper!).

So my questions:

1) Is it possible to bring back our lawn?
2) If we find that we need to fertilize, do we need to wait until the fall/cooler temperatures?
3) Will it help to pick the weeds by hand?
4) Should we re-seed? Or seed over the entire lawn?

Thank you!
 
William James
gardener
Posts: 1014
Location: Northern Italy
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My mother just went back to weed-and-feed after years of unsuccessfully trying to do it the eco way.

That being said, there were a couple red-flags in her final declaration.

1) The subsoil was all trashy suburban rubble. That is something that nature is going to be aggressively trying to mend.
2) The guy she had doing the eco-stuff had no real plan to rehab that ground. He was basically spraying organic chems on the lawn, without success.

I have these suggestions:

-Read paul's article about lawn care. Your grass needs worms and organic material to do well.
-Try to use a mix of plants that will grow well as "lawn". There are tons of weeds that do great under even very stressful conditions, have deeper roots, can be mowed, and give you that "green" look that you expect from a lawn.
-Think about turning your enemies into your friends. When life gives you dandelions, make dandelion wine! Or put the seed into a little packet and sell it for $1.50 a pop. I'm not joking.

Best of luck,
William
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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Here in France dandelions are grown as a salad crop and in a very mainstream way - you see them for sale in the supermarket. Very high in minerals due to the long tap root. Plus bees and butterflies love the flowers.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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Just noticed that Paul's latest podcast covers some of the things you're asking about Brenda.

http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/1856-182-lawn-care/
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Brenda, first of all - Welcome to Permies. I see this was your first post and you have already read Paul's article on lawn care - that is an excellent place to start.

If you would add your location to your profile that would help find people who can best answer your questions. If you are in the deep south I might be able to help but if you are in Canada I am clueless as to how to care for a lawn up there.

Also feel free to post pictures - we love to look at pictures

 
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