Friday, March 15, 2013

Goodbye Lawn

When we started digging up the lawn in November, I knew it was going to be a big task. It was a longer-running task for a couple reasons: the weather got cold, I was busy, and there were roots. Or maybe I should say ROOTS, because these were no ordinary roots. These roots were impressive, thick and long and running all over under the lawn. They were like a sea serpent, lurking under what looked like smooth, unaggressive ground. A multiheaded sea serpent, in fact. Every time I dealt with one monstrous root, my shovel would bump against a new one and the fight would begin again. The monster metaphor seemed especially apt when I started hacking away at a particularly large root with an axe.

Some pictures are in order:

 A long root from under the grass

Monster unearthed

Monster defeated

Despite it being a lot of work, I am very glad I dug out the bed by hand. I had considered the popular method of lasagna gardening, where you just cover a bed with cardboard and organic material and hope that the bed will be useable once everything decomposes. I decided against it because I had bermuda grass that I feared could outlive the lasagna gardening method. I don't know if it would have, but those roots would have given me grief for years if I hadn't gotten them out. I also considered renting a rototiller. That would have been a waste of money. I would have had to return it in defeat after hitting root after root that it couldn't get through.

In addition to the grass, I transplanted the small shrubs in the front bed and dug up that bed. In addition to more gigantic roots, I found other surprises hiding in the front bed. These included 6 lengths of old, rusty rebar, 5 stumps, and some bricks and bits of concrete. The stumps, I believe, were from some long-gone bushes that were chopped to the ground then buried by dirt and/or mulch. I found this picture of our house from 2004 that shows big hedges in the front yard. Those didn't exist when we moved in. I believe those are the origin of the stumps I found.

Now a before/after:

Okay, hard to tell the difference. But now I have a nice little garden bed. Hooray. It's not very pretty now, but I've ordered a bunch of plants and we're going to put some nice little paths through it and it is going to be lovely. I'm very excited. After 8 years of living in apartments/dorms/other rentals I finally get a garden again. 

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