The Grass is Always Greener

Mark and I love our yard but we definitely have lawn envy.  The grass is for sure greener at the house across the street.  We’ve been trying for three years now to get our lawn in shape and we haven’t been all that successful.  The first year we had no idea what we were doing.  I believe the technical term is “pissing in the wind.”  Last year we did some more research, had our soil tested and came up with a better plan.  In the spring and fall of last year we added lime, aerated and over-seeded and it helped, especially in the back yard which gets more sun.  The front yard, however, due to the enormous oak, still needs alot of work.

We’ll probably never have great grass out there because of all the shade, but we are determined to make it better.  One of the issues we face is the persistence of garlic weed. Basically in the winter and early spring, our lawn looks like this: (click the pictures to make them bigger.)

IMG_0071We’ve already put compost down (something that we didn’t do last year) and we’ve added some lime.  But see those bright green patches?  That’s garlic weed and our yard is thick with it.  The thing about garlic weed is that it flowers in May/June and then goes dormant and kinda disappears so it’s easy to forget about it as spring rolls on.  BUT, the flowering can lead to more of it the following year (as we’ve learned from ignoring it the past 2 years.) So if you’re wanting nicer grass, you’ve got to get rid of it now.

The bad news is, you can’t kill it with sprays and you can’t just pull it up by the stalk.  You have to dig it out.  So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing.  It took me about 8 hours over the course of three days to get it all up from just our front yard alone.  It was hard work.  Here’s what it looked like when I got it out of the ground:

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I tried my best to get most the dirt off and sometimes it was easy and sometimes if you tried to get it all off, the weed would start to fall apart and the roots would fall back down to the ground with the dirt.  Also, another fun fact of this project is that worms love this stuff.  I guess I can see why since garlic is delicious.  In almost every clump I pulled up there was at least one worm.  I tried to save them and put them back in the soil but I am sure I didn’t get them all, sorry worms!

The good news is that now our front lawn now looks like this:

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Again, we’re nowhere near winning any Home and Garden awards and with the oak, we likely never will but hopefully the adding of the lime and compost and the removing of the weeds will help our grass grow better whenever it warms up enough around here to start seeding!  We’re also in the process of upgrading our front yard landscape.  You can catch a little sneak peak in the picture above, but I’ll be back with a post or two more about it soon!

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Happy Spring!

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Or not.  It snowed here overnight.  It’s the most snow we’ve seen all winter spring.  Some kids in the area didn’t even get a snow day because they are, get this, on spring break!

Anyway, this post isn’t really about our sucky our weather.  It’s about how we’re jumping into spring whether the weather wants to join us or not.  We’ve got several outside projects going that I’m going to bring you up to speed on this week, but first we talk food.

I joined a CSA.  Yes, I know you can probably smell my smug.  I’ve been wanting to do this every year since we moved here but never got in gear enough to research and sign up before they start/sell out.  So this year I made eating healthier and more local a resolution.  And just like blogging, I’m kinda sticking to it.  I started buy our milk here. They sell Trickling Springs milk which is delicious! I’ve been buying protein from a local butcher and now I’m getting a CSA of produce every Thursday.

There are lots of choices for CSAs in our area and I really didn’t do all that much research. Basically my wish list was:

  • Have a convenient pick up location
  • Not be too much food per week for two people
  • Include eggs and/or other items

I found Olin-Fox Farms and they fit the bill so I signed up for a six-week spring program.  Because of the long winter our first week was cancelled, 😦 so I picked up my first bag last Thursday from their NOVA location UnWined.  (The fact that the pick up location was in a wine store definitely didn’t hurt!)

I liked that it was just one brown grocery bag and not a huge box.  This week’s bag came with spinach, radishes, beets, watercress, kale, romaine, new potatoes and eggs.  I meant to take a picture of everything before I washed it all and put it away, but I forgot.  However, as I use the items this week, I’ll be posting about what I did with them.  I’ve already used these delicious radishes to make a little mid-day snack.

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I also used the watercress to make this soup.  I served it to Mark yesterday after he’d been working outside all day in 38 degree weather and although it didn’t contain any meat, he ate it and took some for lunch today.  Operation Vegetable is in full effect!

Mark doesn’t eat beets so I roasted them, peeled and chopped them up for me to put in my lunch salads this week.  We ate the eggs for breakfast and I put two into these yummy BC cookies.  Stay tuned for what I do with the rest!