Without setting an alarm clock I was up at 6:45. (What ever happened to the days when I could sleep till noon?) I threw on some clothes and went out to turn on the sprinklers. The grass was a little moist but in case that was only morning dew I ran the sprinkler again. When it was done there was some water pooling in some areas. Perhaps that was a bit too much. It’s supposed to be hot today (80s) so maybe that’ll be ok. We’ll wait until the grass looks like it’s dried out a bit before we water again.
Dana arrived with a GreenThumb brand, Medium Duty, Flexible Spray Tube, Variable Pattern, Oscillating Sprinkler. After we figured out how to adjust it Dana hooked it up and turned it on. For some reason the water pressure wasn’t enough to cause this super-dooper-sprinkler which is supposed to be able to cover up to 4000 square feed and is only being asked to cover slightly less than half that. Dana readjusted it and set it to cover just the 2/3 norther portion.
about 15 minutes later she moved it to the remaining 1/3. With both sides sufficiently wet she turned off the water. It was still early enough that it was not yet dark and hopefully that means the yard won’t end up rotting or attracting bacteria.
Dana came to visit as I finished working. It took nearly 4 hours to prep the yard. What a mess but wow does it look better now. With the yard prepped it was time to seed. I started by filling the hand spreader and, though the instructions that came with it suggested using setting 1 out of 5 on the spreader for seed, Mary Jane at ACN suggested something in the middle. I experimented and decided that 3 or 4 gave me a better spread. Also on Mary Jane’s suggestion I walked rows back and forth across the yard one direction while spreading and then turned 90 degrees and crisscrossed the yard. I could see the seeds between the existing grass and it appeared to be what Mary Jane said I would need.
It was time to add the soil. I emptied the two bags into the wheelbarrow and used the shovel to sprinkle the soil over the top of the seeds. Our front yard has a concrete walkway running from the front door to the street which divides the grass into roughly 1/3 on the south side and 2/3 on the north side. I ran out of soil about 1/2 of the way through the 2/3 side. I returned to the garage with the wheelbarrow and grabbed another 5 bags. I finished covering the remainder of the front yard with soil and grabbed a broom and dustpan to remove the remaining debris from the walkways. Before beginning to water.
With cleanup done, I attached the hose to the faucet and attached the sprikler to the hose. I turned it on and the sprinkler died on me. I called Dana who was on her way home and she agreed to pick up a replacement on her way home. When she arrives watering will begin.
Preparing the yard
I managed to get the afternoon off from work. It was warm but only partly cloudy and I decided, after it had rained for the last couple of days that it would be a good time to take the next step in the yard. I came home, changed clothes, and loaded up a wheelbarrow with a metal-forked rake, a plastic rake, a few bags of soil, the hand spreader, the seed, a shovel and a couple of garbage bags. I headed for the front of the house to begin.
My first step was to rake away as much of the debris as I could with the plastic rake. I filled two monster garbage bags. Next I used the medal-forked rake to distress the ground. This actually pulled up even more debris which I cleared away. The gorund started looking darker as apposed to its previous burned out light brown. Next, seeding.
The Garden Center
Today I went to the Arpahoe Acres Nursery to speak to Mary Jane, their grass expert. (I’m not kidding. The woman at ACN who is the resident expert on all things grass and weed is named Mary Jane!) I was instructed to bring her samples of my grass from the front and back of the house. I had pulled up a clump of each and bagged them in ziploc bags labled front and back in advance of my visit to ACN.
Mary Jane wasn’t the nicest person but she seemed to know her stuff. She examined my samples first by picking them apart and then by placing them under a microscope. She showed me how the root of the weed turned at a 90 degree angle which she explained was why it was so dangerous–that this was how it took over yards and destroyed the non-weed-grass. She then pulled out a book which detailed just how destructive that weed was to a yard.
Mary Jane then showed me a book on seeding. She showed me how there should be a sprinkling of grass seed but there shouldn’t be too much in one spot. She explained that I need to use a hand spreader to place the grass seed and then to cover it with 1/8″ of top-soil. I asked if there was a tool to spread the top soil and Mary Jane said something like, “I don’t care how you do it, use a shovel, use your hand, doesn’t matter to me.” I asked her how much seed and soil and she calculated, based on my estimaged 3600 square feed of yard, that I would need aproximately 9 pounds of seed and 12 bags of soil to patch my yard. I asked how long I should water and she said 10-15 minutes at a time. I then asked what sort of sprinkler she recommended and again she told me she didn’t care–the point is to keep the yard wet.
The folks at the ACN (aside from Mary Jane) were very friendly and helped me load my 9 pounds of seed, hand spreader, weed killer, and 14 bags (I erred on the side of caution) of top soil into my car. I was pleased to discover that all of it fit in my trunk and I didn’t even have to drop the back seats! Additionally, all of this only cost me about $50. Let’s hope it works!