Everyone wants to be good at growing something, yes? Or is it just me? Surely we all have a green thumb – latent or glowing – as Science Daily boasts evidence of human trial plant cultivation from as long as 23,000 years ago. It’s in our DNA to want to grow things!
I have friends, a couple (I’d say Dutch, which they are, but that would be stereo-typing, right, and we’re trying not to do that anymore, but why is it that some Dutch people are so very hard-working, and so damn good at gardening?) whose gardens are so inviting and lush that when a neighbour recently got a first peak into their backyard he couldn’t help but burst out with something like, “Holy Garden of Eden!”
Orchids? Not a problem for her, the stunning blooms just keep coming, as if magical. Grass? For him? It’s truly like the thickest, richest emerald carpet over the most expensive underlay on the planet. Crabgrass would not even think about spreading its ugly, crabby self down amid that kind of beauty. First off? It would have a hard time gaining purchase due to the zillion-thread-count-nature of the healthy green blades. Secondly? It would have like a half-second life span. He’d attack immediately with whatever kind of weaponry a grass expert uses in this type of battle.
Instead? Crabgrass seeds blow on down south to my place.
Now, some of you may boast you have the best crabgrass in town – last year a Jazzercise member told me, “If it weren’t for crabgrass I’d have no lawn at all” – but I’m pretty confident of my crop here. So much so, that when I thought I saw it sprouting, in abundant ugliness in early spring, in an area on the front lawn where the previous fall I’d put down several bags of soil and overflowing handfuls of turf builder dense shade mix, I made a big decision.
I told my husband B about it. “Well. I’ve decided!”
“Hmm-mm?” he said, happily poking about on his computer, rearranging numbers on spreadsheets. And perhaps? Here’s the thing: if he helped me, like my gardening friends . . . could we also have a Holy Garden of Eden in our backyard instead of a Holy Garden of Weeds?
“I’ve decided,” I confessed. “I really really like crabgrass!”
“It’s just so beautiful. And abundant. And easy to grow! And also . . . green.”
But here’s another thing: there’s a big difference between deciding to like crabgrass and actually liking crabgrass. Once Sgt Major Crabgrass gets her soldiers trained and ready for combat? Those Green Berets march all over every square inch of your lawn, soaking up rain, sun, digging incredible trenches – good for ongoing muscle-building – all in an effort to fight a war that is . . . well, let’s face it. The battlefield is your lawn.
Want the battle to be somewhere else? Well, you’ve got a battle on your hands, don’t you? And knees. You have to be willing (and able) to get down and personally annihilate every single Green Beret. (There could be a spray, but it will annihilate you too.) But wait! That’s not all! You have to also be willing (and able), according to my emerald-green-carpet-growing friend, to immediately get thyself to a garden store and get copious bags of soil and grass seed to fill all those gaping holes – it was a battlefield, after all – you’ve gouged in your pathetically poor excuse for a lawn. Otherwise? Well, the myriad Green Berets will jump back to attention before you can say Holy Field of Crabgrass.
Crabgrass, antlerservices.com: “This grass if left unchecked will produce hundreds of seeds per plant, growing each summer and dying in the fall. A single plant will look like a large crab (truth!) by the end of the summer with as many as 125,000 seeds (horror-face emoji).”
No one ever said growing emerald green carpet would be easy. Crabgrass? Those Green Berets are trained, strong and able, always awaiting marching orders. Low on seeds? Come on over, I have buckets full.
Don’t get too crabby about your grass or lack there of ! You have to be in it for the long haul and getting down on your knees to deal with those insistent Green Berets provides an added bonus. You’ll get dirt on your hands which is a blessing to everyone even though they don’t think so. A little dirt on your hands puts you in touch with mother earth and all the other bacteria/microorganisms that are really good for your well being. So your lawn will look better and so will you. Promise!
Lol. Not too crabby, just got sore knees (and back!). And yes, dirt on the hands is good. Jealous of the emerald carpet you have tho!
I recommend spreading a sprinkling of Clover Seed.. Clover is perhaps capable of fighting the good fight for you.. and it also evolves into little flowers that feed bees ;).. enriches the soil and takes over at perhaps the same rate as the crabgrass!..
Alternatively, Creeping Thyme
and in the shade, you could spread Sweet Woodruff -a tiny white-flowered herb ground cover that can be made into tea as well! 🙂
We ‘in the Landscape business’ try to eradicate all lawn grass.. since it’s not good for the environment and has huge upkeep, (as you’ve discovered) :).. and often causes toxins to be used..
If you love green, go for one of the green ground covers that’s not grass.. and doesn’t need the weekly mowing 🙂
Vinca is also an elegant favourite with small purple flowers 🙂 .. .spreads way faster than crab grass! 🙂
Thank you so much for your landscaping advice!