I need a little help...

I have a question about my backyard, I just bought my house 2 months ag
here in Reno NV. I live alone and I want to fix my backyard by myself The problem I see on my backyard is that the soil is so soft. When it' sunny it's hard but when it snow, it is very soft..I was wondering whe is the best time to fix the backyard. Do i need to put more soil to ge the land harder? What should I do to get the soil harder? Because I wan to put some grasses soon. Ok thank you if somebody can give me some tip and advise because I want to save money...thank
-- clueles ----------------------------------------------------------------------- clueless's Profile: http://www.HomeOutfit.com/member.php?userid ( View this thread: http://www.HomeOutfit.com/showthread.php?th45
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is it the soil which is 'soft' in snow or the grass covering itself? In dry spells the soil in the front garden does rock hard yet the grass still survives, whilst perhaps browning off a bit. When the autumn rains arrive the ground soaks up the water yet the grass covering is soft and spongy. The grass does ok there and is in no need of re turfing. You may need to dfine better how the soil is 'soft'. Does the grass grow well? Does it stay relatively green all year round without dying off completely over summer? Is it quite thick with minimal weed? If so, the hardness/softness of your soil may be immaterial as the grass does well in it.
rob
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Well there is no grass yet in the backyard..it is all soil because it i
a new development houses so everything is so new, the houses and soi are all new. It is soft and muddy when, after the snow, and it snow lot here for the past months...but i recognized when i go in m backyard before the sun's out in the morning the soil is very hard bu then after noontime...it gets watery even if the snow already melte for days, that is why I can't go back there because my shoes get mudd up to my socks...I dont know if i have to wait til summer to put som grass or i can do it now,can I just add more soil in there and kind pressed it to the ground or it will not help at all?...I am worrie that if i put grass now, it will still be soft..well thanks for the 1s response, hope u can help me and understood my explanation more...than you
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Well there is no grass yet in the backyard..it is all soil because it i
a new development houses so everything is so new, the houses and soi are all new. It is soft and muddy when, after the snow, and it snow lot here for the past months...but i recognized when i go in m backyard before the sun's out in the morning the soil is very hard bu then after noontime...it gets watery even if the snow already melte for days, that is why I can't go back there because my shoes get mudd up to my socks...I dont know if i have to wait til summer to put som grass or i can do it now,can I just add more soil in there and kind pressed it to the ground or it will not help at all?...I am worrie that if i put grass now, it will still be soft..well thanks for the 1s response, hope u can help me and understood my explanation more...than you
-- clueles ----------------------------------------------------------------------- clueless's Profile: http://www.HomeOutfit.com/member.php?userid ( View this thread: http://www.HomeOutfit.com/showthread.php?th45
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You need to hire a pro to come in and put in your yard. It sounds like it needs a lot of work to me, and if you don't know what you are doing, you will spend a lot of time and money and still not have anything to show for it.
Pick up the phone and call a professional.
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he could do that, call in a professional who could build it up with topsoil, roll out some ready lawn and then throw on some synthetic fertiliser at periodic times. That is one way, the conventional way, of doing it.
If I had the opportunity, and it is only my preference and will not suit many people I am sure, of restarting a lawn on a new sub division I would experiment with concepts used by organic gardeners. Conventional alwns use synthetic fertilisers to feed the grass and weed killers to kill the weeds. Organic gardening is about feeding the soil and the soil microbal fungal and worm activity. There is nothing startling about that however many organic gardeners I speak to are not pro lawn and see it more as something to let go rather than care for. Mr on the other hand wants a nice lush and fine lawn but without the chemical crap.
When I moved into my current place the lawn was full of creeping grasses (like couch and some species I haven't yet been able to identify), paspalum, carb grass and the like and board leaf weeds. I intensively sprayed it with broadleaf killer, spot sprayed the couch paspalum etc with glycosate, threw on lime and synthetic fertilisers. The couch, paspalum, broad leaf certainly went and are now down to a manageable level where I can dig them out by hand or crown almost. I still apply a very small amount of glycosate to the grasses I can't dig out (such as the bastard that I can't identify. I am an expert at spotting it from 10 mentres in my lawn now). I have wised up a little recently to a, what I consider anyway, better way of growing things. Remember that growing lawns is an artifical way of using soil, nature doesn't do it that way.
Round here developers leave the smallest possible amount of top soil on a new section. Either way you look at it you will have to truck in some extra growing medium for any decent grass or flower beds. Organic gardening, most often food crops, emphasises infusing the soil with large amounts of compost and manure from the outset. This provides organic matter and the the nutrients the soil needs, it also helps to balance the soil ph, drainage and aeration. If starting with a blank canvas rotovating in good amounts of shit and compost will make your soil nutrient rich and, provided you use balanced compost, chemically balanced. This is something you only need do once, at the start, because obviously tiling chit or compost into your soil will stuff your lawn.
Shit and compost will also infuse you soil with microbal, biological and worm activity. Check the compost and make sure it has worms in it. Some comercial compost has SFA or no worms in it whereas the stuff I make in my back yard is swimming in it. If buying commercial compost (not the bagged crap, buy it in bulk as it is fresher) try to get hold of some back yard compost from a friend or family as it will most likely be full or worms). These are very important for the continued health of your soil. The smallest mircobes start to break down the organic matter and unlock nutrients all the way through to worms that eat organic matter and poo it out. They also help with water retention in the soil as well as aeration. Worms also help break down thatch and carry organic matter from near the top of the soil to lower depths. Chemical sprays and synthetic fertilisers can retard or even kill the biological and worm activity in your soil.
Rake, contour etc from there. My thought, untested but based on principles of vege gardening, would be to leave that for a season of rain (like you season firewood) for the soil to settle and the organic matter to fully decompose (the compost may be only partly broken down or the manure may be too hot for roots). If you want to keep out weeds lay down thick cardboard (the tv, fridge type boxes) or even better I think old carpet underlay, the hessian type stuff made from natural fibres if you can get it. Carpet layers, demolition teams may often have it if pulling carpet out of old houses. The covering cuts out light that weeds need to grow. That stuff will also partly decompose adding further matter (harmless) in to the soil. From there sow your lawn.
Ongoing maintenance of the lawn should follow patterns similar to conventional lawn maintenance but using different inputs. This is the stage I am at now. Put away your synthetic fertilisers, or, better still, don't even bother buying it. Substitute it for some of the following. Blood and bone, I use this and it seems to work fine. I apply it prior to some rain as I have dogs and cats and they like to eat anything on the surface. The rain washes it in. Very fine compost, spent mushroom compost or types of shit (like chicken poop) could also be applied that way. Obviously you want it fine so it reaches the soil rather than sitting on top of the grass. Doing it just before rain or watering it in helps achieve that, just like you would do with lime. If the stuff you get is a little course sieve it through a wire mesh. You can add lime however if the soil is in balance from the start you shouldn't need it. Mushroom compost helps to sweeten a lawn so that will, albeit perhaps more slowly than lime, do the same job.
If you can mulch the grass you cut back into the lawn. Use a proper mulching mower for this, not a pseudo mulch and catch. I use a catcher as all my grass goes on the compost heap.
More interesting soil applications you could try involve worm tea, compost tea or seaweed emulsions. Worm tea is the piss from a worm farm and when watered down (about 10-1 is ideal) is a very balanced and nutritional liquid fertiliser. Compost tea is similar but made from soaking compost in a barrell. A google search will throw up many sites. Another method is to bag organic matter in a hessian sack and immerse it in a large barrell of water With a sealable lid preferably as the end results stinks). Over a period of weeks/months the organic matter decomposes giving you a water tea enfused with nutrients. Someone I know even puts road kill in their liquid composter. A good fitting lid is essential if going that far. Sea weed emulsion is similar to making liquid compost. You can mix sea weed in with other organic matter. Seaweed itself is a very very very good nutrient for your garden. Water any of that down about 10-1 and apply to the lawn with a watering can. This can take some time. Again, if applying stinking stuff some rain helps dilute the smell. All of this stuff also encourages the microbes and biological activity in the soil. Liquid blood and bone (commercial stuff) can also be used if desired.
As for weeding, I have gotten rid of the weeds and grasses to the entent I can get most of them with a knife. This needs regular activity however if you are a lawn fanatic/weed nazi like I am it is something you do willingly.
Will it be successful? I don't see why not. My experimentation is only partly through to where I think it needs to be. In the case I have outlined however you are starting from scratch, not trying to reform someones earlier mistake like I am. It should be more straight forward. Be aware, it will take time and effort. Time to get the soil right before sowing and some time and effort to keep the soil good and the grass growing well. Applying a broad leaf weed spray is easier than hand weeding with a knife yet, I think, no where near as satisfying. Although the term is not offically recognised, organic lawn sounds good to me.
I found a useful resource on the web about organic pastoral farming. I adapted some of the techniques to lawn to see if they are useful. Don't worry too much about the bio-dynamic name, they are in to organics but mixed in with some speudo mystic stuff. If you seperate out the mysticism the rest makes good sense. http://www.biodynamic.org.nz/guides/intro_ch1.pdf http://www.biodynamic.org.nz/guides/ch3env_app.pdf http://www.organicnz.pl.net/pastissues/marapr04/resguides.htm
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