Monday, June 24, 2013

Mulch Madness

Gardening on the cheap requires humility and resourcefulness. Thinning out your irises? Sure, I'll take some and sort out the colors later. Free tubers? I've never met a tuber I didn't like. Lantana on the loose? I'm the queen of unwanted plants. If we even hear a tree getting shredded in the area, we are right there, begging the tree guys to dump the mulch at our house. You can't miss it, the place with the dying lawn and the big pile of shredded tree debris where most people park their car. 

I'm sure our neighbors have been thinking, What in the name of Heavenly Bamboo are those new owners doing to that poor yard? First they don't water the grass, then they stop mowing it. And now look, Myrtle, they're covering their yard with cardboard! There goes the neighborhood.

First ignore it.

Then cover it in cardboard.
Procure some mulch and lay it on thick! On the cardboard, mulch on cardboard, thick.

After Googling the entire process, there were several things we did wrong. First you are to mow the lawn super short, but the whole reason we're doing this is not to mow. Then you're supposed to wet it down really well, but another reason for this is not to water. Then you need to be careful to overlap the cardboard, covering every little gap. Let's hope our rag tag little gang of boxes will do the trick.

Our lawn, or shall I say expanse of Burmuda grass, was several inches higher than the sidewalk. We are the only house on the street like this, so I blame it on too much fertilizer that made the sod go nuts like an athlete on steroids. We, mostly not me, had to pick ax it like mad, pry up the sod in chunks around the edge and dump the extra dirt in the back. Now at least the edges are flush and the mulch won't go floating off. Our buddy Dan found some old bender board and asked us if we wanted it. Bender board for free? A cheapskate gardener's ideal gift. It not only keeps the mulch from straying, it acts like a picture frame around the yard and says to the neighbors - trust us, we do have a plan.

Almost finishing up Project Kill the Lawn 2013, we worked in the front yard for over four hours on Sunday afternoon. Normally that would sound like a punishment for a dastardly deed, but June 23, 2013 was perfect for working outside. We bent the board, we axed the sod, we threw down cardboard and we mulched away like busy beavers. To top it off, it started to rain quite nicely just as we cleaned up the tools, a great way to settle the dust and make the new plants happy. We're almost finished with the hedge around the perimeter and I got a donated Lantana from Myra planted. Next on the agenda is a little path lined with native plants.  If you have one, you may want to bolt it down. 

Would have been happy to water the lawn.