Friday, May 7, 2010

Fertilizing and Overseeding the Lawn

I'm making a concerted effort to use as few chemicals in my garden and lawn as I can. About the only chemical that I used now is Roundup, and I only use that for poison ivy. I also used a chemical fertilizer with potassium this spring for my purple tomato seedlings because I needed a fast acting source of potassium.

I'm not a big fan of massive lawns. My garden space is larger than my lawn. I probably have about 250 square feet of lawn. For the last couple of years, I have done nothing to my lawn but mow it and sprinkle a couple of grass seeds in bare spots in the spring. It doesn't look very good. I don't expect it to be immaculate, but there are patches of dirt showing through and a lot of broad-leafed weeds, especially in the backyard. Consequently, I am going to experiment with organic lawn care this year. I'll share what I'm learning along the way and I will show you the results. I'm also hoping that I can get feedback and help on creating a nice lawn from people who read this blog.

My front yard looks better than my backyard.  A couple of years ago, my neighbor, the landscaper, installed a perennial bed for a client.  They didn't want the sod that she removed, so she brought it to me. It looks pretty good on the sunny side, but the shady side of my front yard has several patches of dirt.

Today was fertilizing and overseeding day.  To prepare for this day, I purchase mushroom compost, sun grass seed, and shade grass seed.  I also dug out all the weeds that I could find in the lawn except for clover, which helps to fix nitrogen into the soil.

First, I set my mower blade as low as I could and I mowed my grass.  I usually set the blade high so that the taller grass will shade out some of the weeds.  

Then, I adding about an inch of mushroom compost over the top of the lawn.  I created piled rows of compost across the lawn and spread the compost through the grass with the flat side of the rake.  After that, I used the pointy side of the rake to scratch the compost into the top of the soil.  My lawn soil has not been amended for years, so I really need to improve the quality of my soil and give the grass seed some fertile media in which to grow.

It's easier to spread the compost with the flat side of the rake.

Next, I sprinkled grass seed in the bare spots and gently raked them in.

Finally, I watered the lawn well to help the compost settle at the roots of the grass and give the grass seed  a moist environment for germination.

After the new grass grows to about 3 inches, I will mow it for the first time.  I will raise the blade high so that the taller grass will shade out weed seeds and make it more difficult for them to germinate.  I will also mulch the grass clippings into the lawn with my mulcher mower.


  1. That is just what growing things need this time of year, it just perks them up no end!

  2. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again

    Kitchen Garden Help


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