Friday, August 27, 2010

Plugging In Grass

Okay.  For those of you who have luscious green grass.....go roll in it.  And I mean that in the nicest possible way.  I really do. 

Living in the dry and high southwest, we are struggling to get grass.  It's a slow work in progress, but we've come a long way baby.  We've got a lovely green patch of fenced in Bermuda grass for the dog to do his business and the kids to play.  Unfortunately we've discovered Biker Boy and Scooter are allergic to Bermuda grass.  bummer.  And we've got a side yard full of low water/low work fescue that the bunnies love to nibble on.  Both are pretty much weed free due to many days last year of me plucking weeds.  Once you get the grass going, it chokes out the weeds.

Side yard in 2009

Fenced Backyard last year...believe me this is all green now and beautiful!  I'm just not taking a picture right now.
Now...ahhh...the struggles we're having in the backyard.  We tried planting seed this spring on our back yard hill.  Spring is a bad time to plant here.  The wind blew nearly everything away and we've now got a nice patch of weeds with some grass. 

Now we don't want grass just to have grass.  We want grass around the house for coverage.  A place to play.  Something to help stop our dirt from eroding away.  Something to walk on and something that's not just mud when it rains. 

We want grass that requires little water and little work.  The rare mow.  We don't care if it's spotty and a teeny bit weedy.  We don't use chemicals or nasty stuff on it.  An occasional sprinkling of compost is good enough. 

What's a girl to do to get a little green amidst the brown?

Seeds are a lot of work.
Sod is too expensive and really....we can't find low water sod.
Grass Plugs.....hello are my new friend.

We tried grass plugs about a month ago.  Love 'em!  LOVE!  They are thriving and hopefully make it through our mountain winter. 

We wanted buffalo grass, but after many calls to local nurseries.....we discovered there wasn't any.  The seeds either didn't take or they were just plain out.  So we got blue grama grass plugs.  Blue grama is a clumping grass versus the spreading buffalo grass.  Both have the same water requirements and are pretty drought tolerant once established.  We hope to put in some buffalo grass next year.  In late summer, not the spring. 

Since we have dirt, clayish dirt, and not soil we got some soil amendment stuff.  The lovely lady at the local nursery recommended Back to Earth Composted Cotton Burrs for our dirt. 

Biker Boy took his drill with a big dirt drilling attachment and drilled holes in the dirt.

We spaced them about 10 inches apart.  8 inches was recommended, but we went a little bigger to see what happens and maybe intersperse some buffalo grass in there later. 

We did use the measuring tape to be slightly accurate.  By the way...Chewy was either swinging or napping and Scooter was either riding his bike or pretending to be a farmer. 

A little composted cotton burr was put in the hole, the grass was stuck in, and then more composted stuff was put around the grass.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  And....even though the picture is of Biker Boy....I did most of the grass plugging.  He did the drilling.  I just happen to wield the camera more often and told him to pose for me.  Plus, I think he's a pretty fine looking guy.  The more pictures of him, the better. 

We stuck 370 grass plugs in.

Three Hundred and Seventy! (That's about $100 worth).  And yes, there's evidence of me.

And 370 grass plugs didn't even cover about 1/5 of the area we want over our drain field.  The whole rest our our 2 acres is going natural.  And you'll have to come back next year to see what we have up our sleeves to economically do the rest of the yard.  Cause $100 bucks has me sucking my breath in.  Yowsa!

Oh, we did put straw between the grass plugs to help keep moisture there.  The nursery lady recommended we water the grass plugs 3 times a day for 2 weeks.  Ah, no thank you.  We've done just fine with one water a day.  And luckily it's been the rainy season when we in the last month we've only turned on the water about twice.  We've drained our water barrels a few times on the grass and other than that....the straw keeps the grass wet so we've hardly had to water.  Thank goodness for the rainy season!  That's another reason to plant in late summer. 

To find out about our other grass planting tips and here.

So green up my world a bit....any tips on grass planting?  Favorite types of grass?  Any great things you've learned or stories to share about the wonders of grass?  We had some local friends recommend the buffalo grass to us, so we were eager to try it out.  Guess it will have to wait.  So what do you recommend?

Enjoy your weekend!  Maybe go roll in some grass! 

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