How do I lawn? How do I garden?
May 23, 2014 7:17 AM Subscribe
My lawn is a terrible mess of weeds, luckily in a neighborhood where almost everyone has a terrible lawn so I'm not bringing down property values. How do I fix it, preferably without pesticides? What do I need to fix? What time of year should I do things? What kinds of plants can I plant in Minnesota? How does a total newb start this stuff, especially a total newb with a busy schedule and back pain?
posted by Frowner to Home & Garden (28 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Due to ignorance and my partner's health problems, we let our already-bad lawn go for years, basically mowing and nothing more. Right now front and back yard are full of dandelions - really full, I've been weeding them these past two nights and pulled up several hundred and I'm maybe half done. What isn't dandelions is creeping charlie (which at least is pretty) and mullein and all kinds of other stuff. The never-very-good plant borders around the house are totally covered in large weeds plus I can't really tell the intentional plants from the large weeds.
What I would like:
1. a dandelion-free lawn with better grass - not aiming for perfect
2. some kind of plant borders around the house and by the fence, maybe with the things my family always had like dusty miller and lily of the valley, definitely with hardy perennials.
I have limited time and money and no assistance. Our soil has arsenic in it; anything we want to raise to eat needs to be in raised beds or tubs, and that is more than I want to start until I have the rest under control.
I read that when you pull up a dandelion you should put down grass seed and compost so that the grass will grow in rather than other weeds. Is this true? Can I do this in summer or only early spring? Is grass seed just something they have at the lawn store?
What can I do this year? What needs to be started early next year? How do I deal with a large area that's all weeds? Can I just till it under? How do I keep weeds from growing back? I am not absolutely opposed to some spot pesticide application, but would rather hand-weed than apply broadly.
Also, what are some good gardening books? And where do I get plants, and can I put them in in the summer or does it need to be early spring?