Frugal Lawncare – Part I

Frugal Lawncare – Part I

Well after my go around with the chemlawn guy I think his salespitch actually started working, although not necessarily in his favor. Basically what he got me doing was thinking about my lawn and well my pride as a past golf course worker started to get the best of me. Certainly I was still not delerious enough to actually pay the guy loads of money to spray some crap on my lawn so that it would look good for a week or two until I’d have to have him come back and spray again. It did however make me delerious enough to actually care about my lawn.

So I started down the path of researching how to care for my lawn. Houses IMO are just a bad excuse to waste lots of money on crap you would never think about if you were renting and well lawncare/landscaping is probably towards the top of the list. So in my research I wanted to accomplish two things (1) Find as cheap as solution as possible (2) End up with a lawn that I didn’t have to worry whether or not it was safe for my 11 month old to play in the yard.

Now granted I am still a complete novice and don’t have a ton to show for my efforts yet at this point, but I did run across a bunch of very usefull information that has me optimistic that I can accompliish both of my goals. Turns out that organic lawncare provides a safe and natural way to care for your lawn and if you do a little homework you can get the supplies and peform the work for signifigantly less than purchasing a store bought chemical fertilizer/herbicide. I’ll probably just give you a high level overview and get into the details in other series of posts (yeah I know my realistic rate of return series is incomplete – just been having too much fun enjoying the summer weather and spending time with the family)

Basically what I did was found out that there are lots of common vegetables/beans that if left to break down on your yard will provide your lawn with all the N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosporous, Potassium) it needs.  Some of the common organic fertilizers used are crack corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, etc.  The other great thing about organic fertilizers besides being safe and cheap, are that you don’t have to worry about over fertlizing your lawn and burning it or making sure to do it early in the morning or late at night so that your grass doesn’t get killed.  Plus from what I’ve read the food your lawn gets from organic fertilizers is much better for it than the chemical fertilizers (I believe someone compared chemical fertilizers to soda for humans – just a bunch of empty calories that over the long run aren’t the best for the plant).

Anyway I went ahead and put soybean meal down on my lawn.  Got it from the local feed meal at 100lbs for $13 and was able to put it on my lawn with a normal lawn spreader.  For those that don’t know “meal” basically is what’s left after the original plant/bean was cut/processed.  So its all of the slivers, shavings, crumbs left on the bottom of the processing machine.  They bag this up and its traditionally used to feed barn yard animals.

The only real negative is that the stuff doesn’t kick in over night.  It typically takes about a month before the process comes full cycle and you see the results in your lawn.  Well it’s been about a month and I can honestly say that my lawn is much greener, thicker, and growing much faster than my neighbors on either side and I know one of the neighbors used some chemical fertilizer earlier this spring.

Anyway I just wanted to give you a general idea of what I am up to, I’ll try to give you some more details in the next series of posts.