The Grass isn’t growing. New strategy

The Grass isn’t growing. I read somewhere in a google search that “after two weeks, grass should have lightly sprouted and is ready for light traffic.” In fact, it was something less that two weeks. Ten days or something. Regardless, our grass wasn’t doing squat.

Day 12 - April 18

This is what it looked like on day 12. I know you can’t really look all that closely, but i’ll sum it up for you: Nothing was happening. I attribute this to a couple things.

  1. I don’t know what I’m doing. This is kinda an overarching reason, and may invalidate every reason below
  2. Lack of rain/poor watering
  3. Low Temperatures
  4. Poorly prepped soil

Poor Soil Prep

A lot of times, “growing grass” lessons begin with “Now that your soil is well prepped, blah, blah, blah”. A significant omission is *how* to prep your soil. What I think i did wrong is that it wasn’t loose enough. I had hoed everything & loosened it all up about two weeks before seeding – which gave it plenty of time to settle. With this whole “new strategy” thing I mentioned in the headline, I rectified this. I’ll tell you later, after I explained how I screwed up reasons three and two.

Low Temperatures

This spring has just been weird. It was unseasonably warm in March, then it got unseasonably cool in April. And since then it swings back & forth between warm & cold and can’t just freakin settle on “seasonable”. Most seed grows ideally when temperatures are consistently in the 60’s. (a domesticated friend of mine claims that it needs to be in the 60’s AT NIGHT, but I’m conveniently ignoring him on that one). We may have jumped the gun a bit because after seeding on hard soil, the temperatures stuck in the mid 50’s at best.


Everyone tells me how grass takes a lot of water. I believe this. It’s not really feasible for me to completely saturate the soil, since it’s gonna drain sometime around the time I’m passing out after lunch at work. Then what? Thirsty, thirsty grass seed. Also, we’ve been reprimanded by our landlord for using too much water, so I’m trying to watch it on that.


Clearly everything i was trying was failing. So I waited until this weekend to try again. Why?

  1. It’s warmer
  2. It was supposed to rain for three days in a row
  3. Since I was thinking about it, i could re-prep the soil
    1. Soil Prep - fertilizer & stuff

      In the morning, when it was sunny, I mangled the rest of the dirt again, loosening it all up. Then i grabbed all this stuff from our shed:
      Products I used

      A soil repairing mix, a fertilizer mix, and some sunny grass seed. All this stuff got tossed onto the soil, and I raked it over to mix it all up. Instead of the seed laying on top of hard soil, it was now mixed in, not too deeply, with fertilizer.

      And then it rained. It rained a lot. Like, from 6pm Saturday until 3am Monday morning. It’s still supposed to be in the 50’s at least for the next day or so, but I feel a lot better about the way this is starting out. We’ll see.


Welcome to the Jungle

In July of last year, myself, my man and my two Brussels Griffons moved into a new place and inherited an overgrown urban jungle in the backyard.

Some kind of weeping tree had wept its branches all the way to the ground.  The grass was weird and weedy and well above our ankles.  The prior owners’ dog had taken massive shits everywhere.  And it smelled. 

Since then, we’ve done a lot of work on the yard.  Last year, we were all about cleaning it up and enjoying outdoor space of our own for the month or two that was left of summer.  We were shocked at all the beautiful things growing beneath all of that inherited overgrowth.  This year, we got started early growing our own veggies and herbs from seed, planning what flowers we wanted to put where, and diagramming above-ground planters and plant placement – and I want to tell you about it.   Don’t worry, I’ll provide some historical information;  there are a lot of pictures from last year that I can’t bear letting go to waste.

To give you an idea of what a mess the yard was, here are some before & after shots.  You know it was bad because we needed a ladder.  You’ll also know it was bad because we discovered a charcoal grill (and not a portable-sized one) that we hadn’t seen before.



The yard clean-up took one full, solid, sweaty day before we had even moved in.  Among other things, we discovered a giant barrel in the back by the fence filled with an unidentified, extremely nauseating, organic matter.  (No, it wasn’t a dead body.)  We had someone come and evaluate it (I can’t remember where he was from… Dept. of Sanitation?  Dept. of Environmental Protection?) and he told us to dig a hole, empty the contents of the barrel into said hole, add some lime, fill it up with dirt and deal with the odor til it dissipated.  People are gross.  Who fills a barrel with rot and just leaves it to be someone else’s problem?

The sadness resulting from the barrel – filled to the brim- with alleged rotting animal carcasses and dog poop was mitigated somewhat by the wisteria blossoms we discovered, and which later covered our trees.  This made me particularly happy because when I worked as a landscaper one summer I used to steal baby wisteria seedlings from rich people’s houses to try to grow them for myself.  They pretty much all died after a week or two – and that was probably nature’s way of telling me that kidnapping is wrong, even if it’s only plants.

Lastly, for the record and to address the title of this blog, our dogs do pee on the lavender and it, well, really pees on my lavender that they won’t quit it.  (This phrase should totally catch on:  like “yo, this jack & ginger i just ordered is weak and that really pees on my lavender.”)  🙂