If there's one thing homeowners can do to get their lawn thicker and less weedy, it's over-seeding in the late-summer/early fall. Spring is another good time to over-seed, but August and September really are the ideal time.
Most weeds in our lawns are perennial weeds, so as the growing season comes to a close, they die out. That means there's going to be some openings in your lawn for something to germinate there in the spring. If you put down some grass seed in August or September, those seeds will germinate before winter, and come spring, there will be fewer spots for weeds pop up. For even application, it helps to have a spreader, but you can distribute the seed by hand too.
When customers ask what type of seed we recommend, 9 times out of 10, we tell them to get a sun/shade mixture. This means, no matter how much sun each part of your yard receives at any given point in the day, the right grass will germinate there and flourish.
I've seen more than my share of lawns that have thick, healthy grass under a tree, while the rest of the lawn looks sparse and weak. Chances are, only one type of grass was planted in this yard initially (a shade grass), and the parts of the yard that receive a lot of sun just can't thrive. Over-seeding with a sun/shade blend will help with that.
Over the past few years, we've tried out various grass seed mixes, and we've found one that we really like. The seeds are uncoated (no synthetic chemical coating), establish nicely when watered properly, and fill in the gaps very well. So instead of just recommending a grass seed, we're now selling it.
There's no need to buy more than you'll use-- we'll help you figure out exactly how much you need, and you can purchase that amount. When you click here, there's a yard measurement tool that you can use to figure out the size of the area you're over-seeding. Then, once you have a number, you can purchase the amount of seed you need for that space.
Live in West Michigan? We offer free delivery anywhere in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan or Muskegon Counties. Live outside of our delivery area? We ship! Got questions? Feel free to email our lawn guy Steve at Steve@GoodSweetEarth.com
Interested in White Dutch Clover seed? We've got that too.
Looking for Worm Compost? Here's the link to our specialty vermicompost.
You ever notice grass growing in your garden? Or in a flower bed? It can be downright tenacious. It grows, it spreads, and left unchecked for a few weeks, it can just overwhelm the area. Grass is essentially an aggressive weed when it grows in the wrong place.
Do you know why grass aggressively infiltrates your garden and flower space? It's because most of us work really hard to give our tomatoes and peppers and marigolds and petunias and basil plants healthy soil. It's that healthy soil that draws the grass in.
So now let me ask you: Does it grow tenaciously in your lawn? Or is it thinner than you'd like? Are there bare spots? Are there spots in your lawn where other things have taken over and the grass is just non-existent? If so, you're not alone.
The problem is that we focus on creating healthy soil for our garden beds and flower beds (with mulch and compost and other soil amendments), but then just don't think about the soil under our grass. And then we wonder why grass grows tenaciously in our gardens, which has soil chock full of organic matter, but there are bald and weak spots all over our lawn.
Getting healthy soil under your lawn isn't something that you can fix by dumping on synthetic chemicals (like Scotts). To get that nice healthy tenacious grass, you need to put as much attention into getting organic matter into your lawn's soil as you do with your garden's soil.
How do you do that? With organic fertilizer and topdressing. Getting more organic matter into your soil is critically important for your turf.
Our fertilization service includes an Alfalfa Blend Fertilizer to do just that (a blend of alfalfa meal, spent distillers grains, kelp and Worm Compost). But you can also DIY by topdressing with compost, or fertilizing with something like Milorganite (32 pounds per 5,200 square feet of turf), alfalfa pellets (40 pounds per 1000 square feet of turf), or Purely Organic Lawn Food (25 pounds per 5000 square feet of turf). Topdressing and/or fertilizing should be done twice a year, in spring (April/May) and late summer (late August to mid September). You want to build up the soil and get those nutrients down just before the grass's growing season starts, which in Michigan is spring and fall.
If you've got questions about adding organic matter to your lawn, or are interested in learning more about our organic lawn fertilization, shoot me an email at Steve@GoodSweetEarth.com
Like most Americans, our family has been hunkered down for the past couple of weeks, avoiding as much social contact as possible to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. It’s meant a lot more “home time” for us, which means more board games, reading, Disney+ and even a little yard work when the weather permits.
But even as the weather warms, we expect to spend a lot more time at home this summer than in years past. Events like Holland’s Tulip Time have already been cancelled, and it’s uncertain what other outdoor events and activities will look like in the months ahead. And so we’re already looking forward to some fun activities we can do in our yard.
As we get ready for spring to hit, it’s important to think about your turf, especially if there will be increased traffic on it this year. Chemical fertilizers, while giving an immediate burst of color and growth, don’t actually do much for the overall health of your grass. Plus, chemical fertilizers and weed killers can be harmful for people and pets.
Good Sweet Earth offers an alternative that can make your turf better suited for increased foot traffic and playtime, as well as keeping it healthy for kids and pets to roll around on. We use only things found in nature to feed your turf—vermicompost, kelp, alfalfa meal and grains. Sound simple? It is, but we’ve been doing this for more than a decade now, and it really, really works. If you’re interested in getting a quote for services, or learning more, give us a call at 616.594.0693 or email our lawn guy Steve at Steve@GoodSweetEarth.com.
More time spent on your lawn means it’s more important than ever to have turf that is both safe for your family AND looks great.
Our winter reading list covers everything from the fall of civilizations to identifying those weeds in your backyard
The off-season (November-March) at the Good Sweet Earth homestead is the time of year we like to recharge our batteries and expand our knowledge base. That means a little travel, a little rest, but also a lot of continuing education, research, workshops and reading.
Steve (our lawn guy), has decided to focus on two areas of study this year: Learning as much as he can about common lawn weeds found in Michigan, and the physiology of ornamental grasses. That means, in addition to the usual reading about faming, soils, microbes, turf and vermicompost, he’ll be entering the 2020 growing season (hopefully!) with a whole new level of understanding of ornamental grasses and weeds, and how those relate to a healthier, more beautiful yard.
So while some of our outside learning comes in the form of classes, much of it comes from good old-fashioned trips to the public library, and browsing the shelves for good books to fill the cold winter months.
We thought we’d share with you some of what we’re reading this January, and how it’s informing and inspiring us as we enter a new year.
In nature, diversity is king. That’s why it can be so challenging to keep weeds out of your lawn. If there’s even a quarter-sized gap in your turf, chances are some seed will find a home there and germinate.
To be honest, the only way you’ll ever have a lawn with zero percent weed coverage is with a lot of chemicals. That’s how golf courses do it, that’s how professional baseball stadiums do it, and that’s how your neighbors with the weed-free lawns do it. When you have a natural yard, you have to accept that nature doesn’t want you to have absolutely no diversity in your lawn.
With that being said, you can still work toward having a lawn with less diversity.
First, having healthier soil will provide a template for healthier turf. That’s where our organic lawn fertilization and Worm Tea service comes in. Strong, healthy grass won’t grow in sterile, lifeless soil.
Next, as you get healthier soil, you need to stay ahead of the weeds. Pull out what you can by hand. But more importantly, fill in the gaps with grass seed after the heat of summer has passed. Late August to mid September is the best time to do this, as it gives the seed time to germinate before winter, and there will be less spots for weed seeds to find a home in the spring.
Buy a bag of a sun/shade blend grass seed. Mow your lawn shorter than you normally would, so the seed will have an easier time finding the soil. Shorter grass also means you can go a little longer between mows, which gives the seed a better chance at germination too. Next, broadcast it with a spreader or scatter it by hand. Mixing the seed with top soil and compost before you broadcast it can be helpful. Larger bare spots in your yard could benefit from applying that seed/soil/compost mixture as a “patch.”
Finally, if you've got more than 60% weed coverage in your lawn, you may have to come to the conclusion that the weeds have taken over. If you want grass to reclaim your lawn, you'll likely have to re-seed or re-sod. It's just too difficult to bring back healthy turf once the weeds take control, especially if you're going the chemical-free route.
Steve & Corey Veldheer are organic yard & garden specialists in west Michigan.