Thursday, April 29, 2010

Going to the weeds

I have been a bad blogger this week because I've been engaged in the battle of my life . . .  against my lawn.

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The lawn is winning.

Let's get one thing clear: I'm not a "Mother Earth" kind of girl.  In fact, when I first told my friends that I was getting a lawn mower, one of them asked whether I would be mowing in an evening gown and Louboutins.  (The answer, by the way, is no; I mow in my sexy Lululemon sweat pants and Dansko clogs, thank you very much!)  But when one suddenly finds herself with the most ragtag lawn in the neighborhood, and a husband who, in addition to working a billion hours a week, subscribes to some Darwinian theory about letting weeds and grass fight amongst themselves for lawn dominance, one has no choice but to get her hands dirty.

I started out by weeding.

Left: Dandelions galore.  Right: No more dandelions!
And boy did I weed.  I weeded for days.  Because every day I would put in a good few hours of weeding, only to discover the next day that more dandelions had sprouted over night.  I swear I heard those fuckers laughing at me.

But while it drove me totally nuts, there was a part of me that took macabre pleasure out of staking those suckers in the heart, pulling them out of the ground, and throwing their limp little bodies in the garbage.  I filled up a whole 10 gallon container with those weeds.  Guess who's laughing now?

Yeah, they still are.

BTW, if you have a yard full of weeds, I'd highly recommend the Rocket Weeder.  It's a long-pronged device that lets you weed without having to bend over.  You just stick the pincher end of the device into the middle of the weed, use the foot pedal to rock it back and forth, and the whole weed -- root and all -- comes up easily.  It even has a weed ejector handle so you can dispense of the weed without having to actually get your hands dirty.

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I then dethatched the lawn.  From what I can understand, it appears that over time, a layer of thatch -- lawn clippings and other living and dead organic matter -- builds up under the grass, depriving the soil of nutrients and making overseeding pretty much impossible.  So every once in a while, you have to dethatch the lawn.  It's kind of like removing mats from under the hair of a dog.  You pull a thatching rake -- Ames True Temper is allegedly the best of the manual ones -- through the lawn, essentially giving your lawn a good brushing out.  Except it takes far more strength than brushing.  My back no likey.

After the weeding and dethatching, I was basically a Golem-like mess.  I actually crawled -- yes, on my hands and knees -- upstairs at one point because my lower back was killing me.  My lawn not only kicked my ass, it aged me by fifty years.

And I swore after that that there would be no more lawn shenanigans for the week.

But then I heard that it was going to rain for two days straight.  And being cheap, I had to take advantage of the free water.  So I got my tired, broken little body back outside to mow the lawn (manual push reel mowers may be great for the environment, but they were not built for a five-foot-three desk jockey with flabby arms and no core strength) and overseed it before the rain came.

After four days of dealing with the grassy patch outside, I'm officially done with all my lawn tasks for spring . . . until it's time to put down the organic pre-emergent herbicide and fertilizer and mow the grass again.

Home ownership can really suck.


Jessica [ frequently full ] April 29, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

Too bad you don't have any neighbors who are so offended by your lawn that they mow it themselves.

That totally used to happen in my neighborhood growing up.

Mrs. Hot Cocoa April 30, 2010 at 11:59 AM  

@ Jessica: Does that work?! Hmm . . . I might have to try that out.

Nicole Peterson April 30, 2010 at 12:36 PM  

I had the dandelion/weed issue my first two years at my home and then I just had Scotts come in and do the annual cycle of treatments. No more weeds ever! If you get on a regular cycle it make take a season for them to completely disappear but it works.

You can also do it yourself with a spreader and picking up treatment at Home Depot/Lowes

lavenderpug May 3, 2010 at 12:26 PM  

hi hot cocoa! wow, i'm actually fascinated by reading all of this. will have to keep in mind that weedy thingamajigger if i ever get a lawn.

Mrs. Hot Cocoa May 3, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

@ Nicole Peterson: Does Scotts have an organic service? And is it expensive? I just put down an organic fertilizer and herbicide, but I'd totally consider that for next season.

@ Lavenderpug: The pugs can come play on our lawn anytime. As long as they wear their ringbearer outfits.

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