With Spring in full swing, that sparse lawn is beginning to fill in with all sorts of surprises. Do you fertilize? If you do, I recommend something gentle and organic, like the Espoma lawn fertilizer. It's the only brand I trust to use in my garden, period. However, I do not fertilize my lawn. I'm slowly transitioning into more plants, less lawn. I don't like a crab grass filled or wildly unkempt lawn. I love sharp clean lines around my garden beds and heading out every Spring with my edging shovel. I do allow the rogue weed here and there and don't panic about it. What are the alternatives? Something for the non-fertilizer lover that appreciates and invites the pollinators, and still wants something that doesn't look like a deserted lot with a "For Sale" sign jammed in the middle of it.
This is my favorite solution!
Several years ago while looking at the mish-mosh that was my Summer "lawn" I noticed that there was a ton of clover that had naturalized over the years. The amount of clover was rapidly out numbering the blades of grass. So, I did some research. Google to the rescue! What does clover mean in the lawn? Is this a bad thing? Should I get rid of it? Here's what I found.
The following is an excerpt from an article found on organicplantcarellc.com (see full piece here) If you dislike the clover, there are some reasons you may be seeing it that could impact your overall garden experience. I recommend a soil test kit! But... this is an article about embracing the clover.
"It wasn’t until recently, when herbicides became popular, that clover was considered a weed. In fact, lawn seed mixes used to deliberately include clover (such as white Dutch clover) – something that some seed providers are now starting to do again.
Because clover takes nitrogen out of the air and soil and makes it available to your lawn, it helps the lawn grow healthier and more pest-resistant, and reduces the amount of fertilizer required. It also requires less frequent mowing, attracts honeybees and other pollinators (although that may not be a positive if you’re allergic to bee stings), and breaks up compacted soil."
So, my mind starting buzzing. All of the efforts to fertilize, which ultimately ended up in frustration, wasted money, and a weary lawn by Summer's end that was brown, yucky, and weed ridden anyway... Why not just embrace the clover? And that friends, is exactly what I did. And I'm so happy with this decision.
Here's what I noticed over the years in allowing my lawn to become predominantly clover.
- Less nuisance weeds (I still have a few of those too)
- A greener overall appearance
- Less frequent mowing required
- The bees LOVE it (this could pose a problem if you have little ones (or big ones) running barefoot in the grass)
- Do you have bunnies? I sure do! I have observed that having a clover dominant lawn keeps Peter Cottontail and friends much more to lawn munching, than creating a salad bar of my precious plants (they still do a taste test from time to time, just to be sure they prefer the clover)
- Lastly, I just think it looks beautiful! It fills the lawn with lush green, plus sweet little white blooms. I jokingly refer to it as my "moon garden" but in all seriousness, it is pretty! I had people in the neighborhood stop and ask "what are those pretty flowers you planted in the lawn?" And on social media, I got a ton of positive feedback about my "moon garden" (queue up the Moonlighting theme song...)
Enjoying a clover snack in the "moon garden" lawn.
Mine was planted here by Mother Nature, and clearly, I'm not mad at her. There are clover seeds widely available online if you think you'd like to consider a truly organic and lovely approach to a traditional lawn. You'll be providing a distraction to bunnies, and food for the pollinators at the same time. Win, win! Plus saved fertilizer funds in your pocket to buy more PLANTS!
I hope this inspired you to try something new in your garden. Please follow my social media channels on Instagram @howsitgrowingnj and youtube.com/howsitgrowing
Until next time, thank you for joining me in my garden!