Another overseeding experiment

mamimo(Sunset 16)August 20, 2005

I'm very new to gardening (my 1st yard!) and when we moved into our new house earlier this year, I was very afraid of doing much to our bare yard. But after reading the experiments at this forum, I'm feeling very encouraged. So what if the neighbors think I'm a nutcase. So here's an experiment that I've just started, motivated by quip's posting on his '04 KBG overseeding experiment. I'm really excited about this!

Background:

Our backyard has some grass (40%), weeds (15%, mostly annuals) and baresoil (45%). I've selected about 1500 sq ft of the backyard for my lawn overseeding experiment. This is what I can comfortably keep watered with sprinklers.

The soil is compacted clay and I've sprayed Aerify (liquid aerator) and compost tea over the area yesterday. I've also manually removed all broadleaf weeds and seedheads of grassy weeds and mowed at 1 inch level.

Material and method:

Batch #1. 1 lb of grass seeds (mixture of KBG, fescue, annual rye) mixed with 2 lb moist used coffee grounds in a 4 gallon bucket. Bucket is kept covered with plastic sheet. I will check and stir it every 4 hours.

Batch #2. 1 lb of same seeds placed in an old pantyhose. Hubby said we're going to grow the sexiest grass in the neighborhood, LOL. These seeds is submerged in a bucket of water. I will check and change the water every 4 hours.

Batch #3. 1 1b of same seeds, untreated.

Depending on weather, the batches of seeds will be put on randomly assigned subplots either tomorrow or Monday evening. Then all subplots will be covered with a thin layer of topsoil and starter fertilizer (18-24-10, with 2-month timed release).

I was actually thinking about putting batch #3 out today, so the untreated seeds get "started" on the same day as the treated seeds. But they are forecasting severe thunderstorms for tonight, which may just wash the seeds off and bias the results. Also, I'm thinking of doing what quip did, i.e., mulch lightly with used coffee grounds, but I'm worried that would be too much nitrogen, since I'm also putting down a starter fertilizer. What do you think?

I'll post updates as my experiment progresses :)

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mamimo(Sunset 16)

Here are some pics 7 days later.

The pregerminated seeds germinated faster and denser than the untreated seeds. But the difference isn't as great as I hoped it would be. And I couldn't discern any difference between the two treatments. If I'm seeding a small area, I'd probably pregerminate the seeds using either method. Stirring the coffee mix was as easy as changing the water and it was gratifying to see the grass coming up faster and denser.

Unfortunately, this is the 1st and last update I can post on this. The landscaping crew came yesterday to aerate+reseed the rest of my backyard and they ran their machines over my test plots! Needless to say, I was horrified. But the damage was done before I could stop them :(

Oh well, I did have fun setting up the experiment. Maybe I'll do it again to reseed any spots that the crew missed.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 6:06PM
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