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Am I on track here? Help me focus and plan.

Posted by lucygreenthumb z4/5 Iowa (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 3, 08 at 13:55

Hi All,
I really appreciate everything I've learned here and since I've just started trying to apply all this great info I want to make sure I'm on the right track.

I have a tiny house and yard (maybe 3000sq feet) with what I'm assuming is kentucky bluegrass - house was built in 1942 and that's what they used back then.

In some places the creeping charlie out numbers the grass and I have violets, plantains, dandelions, crabgrass, oxalis, etc. distributed throughout. Two boxturtles graze the yard - so I'm trying to avoid nasty toxins.

I mulch my 8 by 40 foot butterfly garden with leaves in the fall and have a very healthy herd of earthworms. I also find a grub or so every time I dig - but I'm not going to worry about them yet.

From what I've read here, I'm focusing on getting my soil and the microherd nice and healthy before I start destroying weeds in the hopes that healthy grass will fill in the resulting holes faster.

The yard is maybe slightly compacted from walking on it and was "topdressed" with sawdust from the recent loss of two trees - but it's mostly healthy. I say mostly because some small patches look slightly lighter to my eye - it's not all the same shade of green, but it's not really noticeable either.

So two weeks a go I raised my mower height (it only goes to 3") put down rabbit pellets (20lbs) and corn meal (2lbs) - just tossed it around like feeding chickens. I'm keeping an eye out for compost and planning on using unsulphered molasses soon - but we keep having rain every other day.

Should I leave well enough alone for now? Add soymeal meal? Add unsulphered molasses? I'm open to suggestions and critques and apologize for not having more exact numbers on yard size.

Thanks,
Lucy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Am I on track here? Help me focus and plan.

You are on the right track. You didn't mentioned if you're mulching the clippings but if you're not you should.
Its all about putting organic matter into your soil and giving the soil bugz something to eat. In that vein it wouldn't hurt to mulch at least some of those leaves into the lawn as well.

You don't need to worry about grubs until their population exceeds 10 or so per square feet. A few here and there are no issue.

As far as further inputs at this point its hard to imagine you'll do any harm but there is no silver bullet here. If you're transitioning into organics you'll need to use more inputs early on than you will down the road. The first season or two it certainly helps to try and keep tabs on how much N you're putting down. 1# per thousand sq. ft.
per app is a fair rule of thumb. In time you'll pay no attention to those numbers at all.

Dandies and plantains come out easily with a weed hound if the soil is a little wet, same for crabgrass. Creeping Charlie will die back quickly with a shot of white vinegar applied to the leaf surface, especially if its sunny. Oxalis is easy to pull or will respond to vinegar as well.
Violets are a pain initially. Hard to pull and hard to kill. I had a good stand the first couple of years but my lawn choked them out completely and I haven't had a bloom in my yard in years and years.


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RE: Am I on track here? Help me focus and plan.

Thanks Decklap,
I'm actually transitioning from years of total neglect to organic care - nothing but mowing has been done - luckily it's good Iowa topsoil, but even that gets depleted after decades of only grass clippings for food.
The yard was like this when I bought it (in winter) so I'm assuming anything done to it was long, long ago.

I especially liked the recommendations on weeds - unfortunately the violets are the main weed in the front yard. I will definitely be using white vinegar on charlie/ Many many thanks for your advice.
Lucy


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