My adventures of creating a lush organic lawn are like a book with many chapters. Each year, I create several new chapters with my disasters and triumphs. The first chapter was entitled, “The Beginning,” when we tried to seed the lawn after finishing the construction of the house and the soil we used look more like compost than top soil.
The next chapter was called the corn gluten year when we stared down the crab grass and it laughed at us since we applied it too late, (See my articles, “Corn Gluten–Can Animal Food K’O Crabgrass?” and updated post this year, “Corn Gluten: Extremely Crabby About Crabgrass.”). The preceding chapter of last year was “The Trees,” when we planted many trees so I could reduce the size and amount of watering the lawn would need. In the meantime, until the trees grow, the lawn is still looking pretty ratty and neglected.
This year, I promised my kids that we would work on the lawn, since according to them, the lawn was just too full of pot holes and dirt to be considered a lawn. I can’t argue with them about that.
My lawn needed a compost vitamin, and I ordered 20 yards of compost from my county to spread all over its tattered mane. You are probably asking why compost versus waiting to fertilizer?
According to the University of Florida IFAS extension,
“Applying organic matter such as compost to the soil will supply simple and complex sugars, proteins, and amino acids. This will provide a nutrient source for both the turf and the microbial population, will improve nutrient uptake through greater cation exchange capacity, and will reduce leaching. Compost may be added to the soil prior to planting or may be topdressed over existing lawns. If topdressing, it may be necessary to screen out some of the larger material before applying. Apply approximately ½ to 1 inch of material.”
So, you are thinking how am I going to spread this big mound of compost? Well, if you are in my situation, you can do one of two things. I could buy a compost wheel from GreenCulture Composters (see picture to the right) or spread it out with a shovel and rake into your grass. (See Weekend Gardener web magazine’s article, “How to Compost Your Lawn,” for an illustration of using the shovel and rake method.)
We opted to buy a compost wheel to spread the compost. When it arrived I noticed the printed title on the box, which read “Organic compost spreader” as opposed to just “compost spreader.” Is there compost that is not organic so you can’t use this spreader? I just thought this title on the box was funny.
The first time, I tried it with a full wheel of compost, I could barely move it. My husband said I was just weak. Mind you, I am not a big person but that wheel is hard to move until you empty half of it.
Pictured above is my husband effortlessly rolling the wheel over an area of the lawn.
Here is the compost left on the ground.
After we are done, we will give the lawn a good watering and start patching the holes in the lawn with seed.
I will keep you updated on how the lawn looks during the summer!