I am not a Farmer – Learning About Yourself.

I am not sure what I was thinking?….actually I kind of do, I was thinking ‘hey you know what would be cool? if I could offset the cost of produce at the grocery store by growing stuff to make my own salads!’…..yeaaahhh.

It all started out great. I bought some pot growing supplies, I built some planters and shiz…I started my seeds in this little incubator thingy on the kitchen table and transferred them to the planters when they were ready. I checked the plant spacing tables twice, sometimes three times to make sure that everything had plenty of room and was ready to go.

Then things got amazing! My plants started to look serious! Look at this shit:

HOLY CRAP, is that FOOD? Yes it totally is! This last picture is the lettuce I then poured dressing over and ate as if it were a real-life salad that you get from those bags. Crazy right? I produced enough lettuce for 3 salads like that one, one sugar snap pea, one pea pod, and then……and then….stupid fucking mother nature came in a effed it all up! One day I had visions of barrels of cucumbers turning into pickles and perhaps a few more sugar snap peas, the next day we had four days of 100+ temp and then crazy ass winds that broke my plants at the base. My lettuce held on for a little while longer before shriveling up completely…..my cucumbers went from 20-some plants, to 9 plants, to 3 plants, and now I am looking at one sad little cucumber plant that hasn’t grown in a month…..I have officially killed all of my crops…except for one tomato plant that has one little tiny red tomato on it…..eventually it might get big enough to eat.

Sigh….I am going to have to try again next year. But basically it boils down to cost – my 3 bowls of lettuce, one pea, one sugar snap pea, and potentially one tomato cost me about $75….granted, next year it will cost me nothing since I still have the seeds and everything else is already there….scratch that, it will cost me about $15 to get some more compost to rejuvenate the soil…..but basically this has been the most expensive produce I have ever paid for.

Go figure I am not a farmer…..of course I will try again. I am determined to find my green thumb under all this white skin! It is down there.

Wait….how did I start talking about grass?

Hola personas importantes. Man, things got a little cray cray for a couple of days and after all that excitement I find myself sitting in a lull saying ‘where’d my excitement go?’

First off, the weekend was good. We had some rainy weather, so whilst I had hoped to be digging up flower beds, hanging trellises, and planting wildflowers, basically I did a whole lotta relaxing with the fam. Which is also super appreciated. But let me tell you, a couple days of rain in Colorado makes the weeds go insanepants up in yer back yard. I was out there last night pulling weeds and thinking ‘if I do this amount every night it will take me 2 weeks to pull them all up’.

Fer yer information needs, two years ago we decided to embrace the fact that Colorado is not Kentucky and paying a shit ton of money to water your grass is dumb. We were fortunate enough to be working with a semi-blank slate. So we tilled, nuked the weeds (so not hippie, I get it), let sit for two weeks, tilled again, then laid $1K worth of buffalo grass sod. Kentucky Bluegrass is less than half the cost, but my hippie sense just knows this is totally going to be worth it…and hopefully that is soon.

Buffalo grass is a tricky beast. The root system (I know, you guys were just so hoping I would talk about the root system, well it is happening right now!) for buffalo grass is totally different than KBG (not to be confused with KGB, acronyms can be dangerous!). KBG roots grow horizontally. That is why they need so much damn water in Colorado because to get any moisture from the ground they would have to grow down deep. Buffalo grass roots grow straight down. So it finds the moisture it needs from the soil and is good to go.

Obviously you can see the water benefits/differences. But the downside of the vertical root system of buffalo grass is that it takes longer to form a barrier for weeds. KBG’s horizontal roots tightly interlock so weeds have a harder time getting in. Not the case with buffalo grass.

I knew going into this that we were signing up for more work for a couple of years…but that it would payoff to not be wasting precious water sources (you’re welcome California!) on watering my lawn. Sure I can just mow the weeds down every week….which is exactly what I do after a couple of rounds of trying to hand pull them all. But it’s obviously more successful to pull the weeds out and get (or at least attempt to) the root. I need to lay down a weed and feed, but at this point the weeds have such a strong hold on the yard, the grass wouldn’t get any feed out of it. So pulling weeds I will do….every night until I can get to the point where my weed-n-feed will be beneficial.

Okay, so right now you are all thinking ‘eff that shit! who would ever plant buffalo grass?’. Believe me I feel that way too at times. But then I want you to think about this little nugget of information – we haven’t watered our grass since the first two weeks after we laid it. BAM! That is amazing. Especially considering my in-law’s water bill goes up by $100 or more a month in the summer. So after two summers we’ve made up the cost difference in the sod.

The experts say it takes buffalo grass about 3 summers to fully establish itself. I think this is a little wishy washy. I would say our grass established itself the first summer, but I am hoping that statement means it starts choking out the weeds after 3 summers. I can tell you that I am now seeing infiltration of the grass. Obviously when we laid it out we covered the entire back yard. Then, thanks to our two rambunctious dogs, the second summer we noticed some serious patches of death.

As I was bent over last night pulling weeds I realized that the grass is spreading! Yeah bitches! So maybe the 3 summers thing means that by next summer it will have spread out and hopefully filled in those dead areas completely….obviously I don’t really know yet. I will for sure report back, which I just know you are so excited about!

Dang now I am wishing I had taken pictures and shit to show you what the grass looks like and what not…..wait…..how did I start talking about grass? I assure you, this was not the intent when I started writing today. These things just have a mind of their own sometimes.

Anyway, now that we’ve started, might as well finish up. Obviously one thing you are sacrificing with buffalo grass is the lush softness of KBG. BG is definitely a drier grass. It also doesn’t get to be deep green. It is more of a mossy color…..well okay, let me retract that statement. If you water Buffalo Grass it will green up a lot. But in it’s unwatered state (which is obviously what we were going for) it is mossy. It also stays dormant longer and goes dormant sooner than KBG. So whilst my neighbors have had lush green lawns for a few weeks now, our grass is just starting to come out of dormancy. But these were all things we were willing to sacrifice to be able to be more environmentally friendly….well I was at least. I sold Andy on the whole thing by pointing out we wouldn’t need an irrigation system and he wouldn’t have to mow as often.

Sure I will be jealous of you dudes as you roll around in your luscious grass this summer, but we’ll just walk a couple blocks to play in the grass at a nearby school. Problem solved.

The front yard is another beast. I have lots to update you about the status of my garden and I was at the garden center last night getting more supplies to make a second box. I stumbled upon a couple of really awesome articles that have inspired me to turn the front yard into a mix of xeriscaping and planters for growing food.

….there is a part of me that can’t help but think I have about two weeks of momentum on this yard business and then I will be saying ‘eff this, I want to lay in the basement and watch movies’.

Better use the momentum for good….okay well again, I was totally not intending this post to talk about our yard the entire time. Doh. So sorry dudes. More interesting things tomorrow.