Monday, July 28, 2008

Project Awesome Yard

I'm going to start recording my adventures in yard care/ gardening here. What the heck, maybe we'll all learn something. I've read about 6 different lawn care books and feel like I have a well rounded grasp of what is and isn't recommended.

So I'm going to start at step 1: soil analysis. Tomorrow I'm taking my soil into the county extension office to get it tested. It'll tell me what the pH is and what recommended nutrients I need to add (lime, sulphur, iron, etc.). I really can't do anything productive to my yard until I know more than just "I have heavy clay soil".

I'm practically giddy because I'm also planning on signing up to become a Master Gardener (permitting child care availability), I believe that's what my awesome gardening SIL is. I was planning on taking some landscaping classes from the college, but I'm going to give this a shot first. I'm really, really excited to do this!

I also bought beer for my lawn and will be applying it today. It helps decompose thatch which is a big problem in my lawn, apparently. If you have too much thatch, don't bother trying to water and fertilize, it keeps most of it from reaching the soil. We'll see if there's a noticeable difference. For those interested, I've just been using a hose attached sprayer to apply it. Oh, and before I did anything, I sprayed the lawn down with some liquid dish soap. It helps kill bugs and diseases, makes chemicals stick, and protects foliage.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Whiskey for my men, and beer for my...lawn?

We bought our house because the house was totally updated and didn't need any work. But I don't think the yard has been taken care of in over a decade. I'm determined to bring my mostly weeds lawn back to life. I read to use beer and ammonia to help perk it up. I tried an ammonia solution on the front yard and it now looks like something out of Ireland and has to be mowed twice a week. I'd call that a success. Now for the beer. What brand do I get? Is my lawn a Budweiser lawn? Coors? or maybe it has expensive taste, Samuel Adams? Do they make generic brand beers? I'm not looking forward to the smell, or to bumping into my bishop while purchasing alcohol, which Murphy's Law states must happen. But I'm eager to see the effects it will have.

I'm really getting into this whole yard care thing. I've ordered my seed and bulb catalogs, consulted with my sister-in-law (an AWESOME gardener who knows her stuff) and started digging out new flower beds. The good news for hubby is that it keeps me from knocking down walls inside the house. Now if I could just find a cheaper, easier way to make tiers from the slope in the backyard...I gotta admit though, I'm looking forward to playing with a bobcat :) (not the animal. This one)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Green Cleaning on the Cheap

Two of my friends are moving over to the green side (welcome!). I think they're both in sticker shock. One of the first things people begin to notice is the price. Shopping organic is ridiculously expensive. But not everything has to be. Here's a couple of ideas:

Don't waste your money on organic cleaners. Use vinegar to clean, baking soda for abrasive, and bleach or rubbing alcohol to disinfect. Hot water is your best cleaning friend.

Use an aloe vera and rubbing alcohol mixture to make your own hand sanitizer.

You can make your own shampoos using diluted castile soap and herbs (I like tea tree oil)

You can even make your own reusable pads, girls. I haven't tried it yet, to my husband's relief.

Just start googling stuff. There's almost always a cheaper, green way to go.