I’ve already helped both homes install rain gardens and replace invasive plants with native species. This year is a big step because they have stopped using any artificial fertilizers or pesticides on their yards.
So, I’m calling the two yards Detox 1 and Detox 2. Jed Goldstein owns Detox 1. I tried to get him to stop using fertilizers last year, but there was a bit of a hiccup. Here’s what happened: he talked to his then-current landscaper about not applying any pesticides or fertilizers on his yard. The landscaper agreed not to add the stuff, but when the fall came did it anyway.
I can’t tell you how many people have told me this same story of landscapers continuing to use pesticides and fertilizers on their lawns after they told them not. To remedy the problem, I took over the lawn maintenance this year to guarantee we know exactly what is and isn’t being added to the yard.
Detox 2 has also gone through a metamorphosis. We actually started working together in November 2014 by installing a patio in the backyard. Instead of typical materials, the patio design called for used brick as the surface. It goes with the colonial style of the house and really ties the space together. It also has, like, a zero carbon footprint. We also installed two mega-rain gardens in their yard this year that are being planted over the next few days. I also took over the maintenance of Detox 2 this year too.
Detox 1 and Detox 2 are similar and different. They are similar because they both get tons of sun in the front yard and lots of shade in the backyard. We want to get their grass healthy and so have selected a Kentucky bluegrass for reseeding the yards. We aren’t tearing up the old lawn. Instead we are overseeding it. Overseeding is the technical term for reseeding a lawn without removing existing turf. The last thing I’ll mention about how the two yards are the same is that they both were mowed way, way too much. They both got cut every week to keep the grass height to about 1 inch tall.
The difference is that Detox 2 suffered from the over mowing more than Detox 1. We have both yards on a 2-week cycle for cutting, and no chemicals are being applied to the grass or planted beds. Jed decided not to use a compost on his yard this spring. Detox 2 opted to have compost applied. I only use mushroom compost for yards. It is the best of the best. I personally think it’s actually better than artificial fertilizers for inducing greenness and growth, but I don’t have any scientific evidence to make that up. Because Jed isn’t using compost, we are keeping the grass clipping on the lawn and raking them out to prevent clumps. Clumps will cause dead spots.
The former So what parts of the Yard Detox Challenge are these yards doing? We have them on a 2-week mowing schedule, eliminated all artificial pesticides and fertilizers, and are reseeding the grass with Kentucky Bluegrass. Detox 1 decided not to do a compost treatment on the lawn during the spring, but Detox 2 did. We applied compost to Detox 2 during the first week of May. To help Detox 1, we are keeping the grass clipping on the lawn and raking them out to make sure the yard doesn’t have clumps. Clumps will led to dead spots.
I do have some images of Detox 1. Below is a image from the beginning of the season.
I’ve got to get a recent picture of Detox 2 to show where it is two months in. I do have a image of the lawn from the beginning of the season. This is how it typically looked throughout the season last year. Now that we are cutting the lawn less, it is the healthiest I’ve ever seen it. It’s green and looks really lush. I'll have to snap a pic and post it so you can see the difference.