not so dandy (or would it be dande?)

As I mentioned, I am pulling dandelions like a mo fo this spring. This is the first time I have ever done this because I have never cared much before…our ‘lawn’ is a tiny plot of grass, dandelions, clover and exists only because sitting on rows of straw between lettuce and squash for a picnic isn’t very comfy. Neither is croquet among calendula.

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our ‘lawn’
Now that I have two wee ones and am home, I have a more intense need for this 15 x 25′ patch to be lawn. I want to want to sit on the ground in my backyard.
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for those who inquired: my favorite dandelion digging tool is this study spade with a sharp tip
But I suck at growing lawn. I don’t water it enough and certainly don’t water it enough to start seed. I will never ever spray herbicide or pesticide on my plot of earth. With the increasing research proving links to canine cancer, leukemia in children, breast cancer and more, I honestly can’t believe roundup is legal let alone sold by the gallon at costco…read some stats I found here and read more proof here, here, and here).
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So what’s a anti-chemical girl with an aversion to watering to do?
I have a small, manageable area where I let my chickens scratch and poo in the off season. I pull dandelions, add a thin layer of compost and water *just enough*. Once the grass is thick and established, weed seeds son’t be able to germinate and soil microbial diversity will increase vigor of the grass.
Plus, in a tidy little full-circle, the chickens LOVE dandelions.


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It’s getting there! It’s working! I am digging 50 dandelions a day (started out as 25 but I was getting nowhere…). Plenty of healthy backyard romps in our future. And, I really do enjoy a few yellow dudes among all that lawn.
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20 Responses to not so dandy (or would it be dande?)

  1. Jean says:

    You have patience, a must-have virtue if you are a non-Roundup kind of woman.

    When we moved into our house at 402 in RL, it was wall-to-wall dandelions and crabgrass. I was out there literally from morning ’til night digging those bastards up. I’d leave them in piles then collect them into garbage bags. It was backbreaking. One day I left the piles because I was too effing tired to bag them. Then, next morning when I went out to start again, all the flowers had gone to seed. Moral of the story, they are in a hurry to reproduce, so don’t leave piles over night. I think they sensed their demise and used their last bit of energy to spray seeds.

  2. TRB Holt says:

    This was one “Dandy” post! Wish I were there to romp in your backyard with my favorite girls.

    Love to all of you….
    xoxo,Mom/Gram

  3. Dana says:

    Jean’s comment is too funny! Happens to my poor hubby every year. I gave up years ago…
    Good luck, you are amazing!

  4. Chiot's Run says:

    We eat them, it’s amazing how much better I felt during the month we were eating them (especially during that time of the month). I think they’re like a wonderherb! I must harvest some roots to dry for weekly tea!

  5. Dakota says:

    Hmm… I don’t suppose I could borrow your chickens sometime in the future? I too am fighting the dandelion takeover.

    And by the way, I LOVE the new header.

  6. I love your plan! It seems like an unbelievable year for dandelions, I feel like the more I pull, the more pop up!

  7. clove says:

    We eat them! The young leaves and flowers are wonderful for a first-greens-of-the-year salad. My friend marinates the crowns, like artichoke hearts. With the flowers, I’ve made dandelion wine and dandelion jelly. They just LOVE to grow, so we find ways to incorporate them in our lives.

    This is the first time I’ve commented on your blog…next time I’ll introduce myself!

  8. TRB Holt says:

    ps…..love your new header…mama & daughter artwork!?

  9. Miss Sews: Yes, I think it is an unreal year for those little yellow buggers. They are thick and robust.

    Chiots and clove: I’ve never eaten them! I can’t believe it. Perhaps it’s because I grew up with a dad who detested dandelions…it never occurs to me. Perhaps tonight!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I read that dandelions grow in the garden because the ph level is too high (above 7.0). Might want to try adding some compost to the lawn, leaf litter, and/or talk to someone at the local gardening center to see what you can do to raise the ph of the lawn safely. Good luck!

  11. Anon: That makes sense…we have high pH soil in these parts. I did spread a layer of compost and that should help a lot.

  12. Kelle says:

    I thought I commented on this post…ugh! It’s not here. So…shall I say I love the new header with Margot’s mark.

    And…I love when the wispy dead dandelions get all white and cottony so you can blow and make a wish…are they the same kind? Just recently had this discussion with someone.

  13. Anonymous says:

    you might find this book interesting: http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/1884_reg.html

  14. Daniele says:

    I am also a NEVER-EVER chemical girl with an aversion to watering! We have also been trying to thicken up and de-weed our backyard for our girls since we moved into this home almost 3 years ago. Our lawn still sprouts what seems like millions of dandelions in the spring, but with the combo of digging them out as much as we can along with over seeding to “choke out” the weeds we’re getting there. The last two years we dug the dande’s by hand too, but I HAVE to recommend to you my new tool, we just got it a few months ago and it’s awesome!! This tool pulls the weeds without you having to bend down. You just step down on one piece, pull out, and press a button on top to release the dandelion into your bucket. It is like seriously, almost fun now to do the weeding!! =) It works awesome and makes the weeding to much faster. We can do so much more than before.
    http://www.amazon.com/Hound-Dog-Products-HDP1-6-Weed/dp/B0000DI835/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1274709993&sr=8-1

  15. Daniele says:

    oh and I have read that you can use corn gluten meal as a natural herbicide but you have to apply it at the perfect time of year for it to work…haven’t tried it…

  16. Sage says:

    oh good luck with that! You are right, it is all about the plant competition… if you have bare dirt and dandelion seeds (or other weed seeds for that matter) lurking around, you can bet your grass or other desirables don’t have a chance. Have you thought about low water, native grass plugs? If you are going to all the effort to reduce the dandelions, might as well transition away from Kentucky blue hugh? I will have to check out your links on roundup… all though I agree that we have become a society that relies way too much on herbicides, when it comes to noxious weeds, they most definitely have a place. On a side note, love the header! xox

  17. Daniegirl says:

    Thanks for inspiring me to weed! I always put it off because it seems so insurmountable. But I can do 50 weeds a day!! :D

  18. Melissa says:

    Can I just say that Avi loves dandelions? He finds them in cracks on the sidewalk while we are out and about and loves to pick them whether they are still yellow or cotton puffy. There is also a children’s booked about a lion named Dandelion that we also love . . .

    Did I tell you my friend loved the girl clothes?
    xoxo

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