Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lighting System Revamp

I spent today rewiring my lighting system a bit--the clips seem to release a lot over the winter, so I clipped the wires and directly wired them to the 12 volt line.

Also, I noted that my entire southern face lighting burns out yearly. Some investigation shows I probably shouldn't have that in the 14 volt tap since it's close to the transformer and not much amperage. Let that be a word to the wise!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Photos

Temperatures are holding in the high sixties this week, so development in the grass and gardens has been exceedingly fast.  Here's an image from today, post mowing it to remove the dead tips.  As always, you can click on any image to embiggen it.

You can see the color's darkened considerably in just a few days, and the grass is already mostly back.  Even the new seed is beginning to sprout!

The neighbors' lawns...not so much.

Bonus Shot #1:  A blue-blooming Iris Reticulata:

Bonus #2:  Purple crocuses!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

First Mow

I just put the Robomower out for the first mow to remove the dead tips from the grass and expose the greener mat underneath.  Temperatures will be sixty or above for the rest of the week, so getting some sunlight down to the soil will help wake it up.  Not that it needs much help, the green edge is already spreading out from the curb and the gardens.  At this rate, by Friday the lawn will be back for the year, a month earlier than last year.

In other gardening news, I have plenty of blooming crocuses.  I'll have to take a photo later.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Soil Samples Taken

I took my soil samples today for UMass Amherst soil testing.  I'll be getting Test C, the standard soil test with organic matter.  I had also gotten test E last year, soluble salts, but I don't expect that to have changed since I don't use synthetic fertilizers.

The soil difference over the last year is pretty amazing.  There are very few remaining "sticky bits" of clay, and what remains crumbles pretty easily.  I even disturbed a few early worms!  Since half a ton of organic matter per thousand square feet went down on the lawn last year (much of that being chopped leaves), I would have expected some change.  This was a bit surprising, however.

The drying soil is fairly dark, so I'm hopeful that my organic matter tests will come back with good scores this year.  Last year I was at 4.6%, or tolerable but a bit low.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let The Games Begin!

They're beginning a month later than last year, but we had some snow this year.  Additionally, the lawn probably doesn't need the organic material any longer (not after last year's addition of more than half a ton per thousand square feet).  I'll take my soil samples for U. Mass Amherst shortly.

I've cleaned the gardens to fully open them up for the sprouting bulbs.  The crocus should be blooming shortly, barring a sudden reverse in the weather.  The back burlap line is down, and I lightly frost-seeded the entire lawn with the mix I chose for the damaged front area.

I added 90 pounds of Milorganite (12.8 pounds per thousand) today as well, for 0.64 pounds of nitrogen, 0.26 pounds of phosphorus, and 0.51 pounds of iron.  That will activate over the next few weeks.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Lawn Photo

The last blizzard is melting away nicely, and the grass is being exposed.  Here's a photo, plus a bonus--the gardens are beginning to sprout.  If you look closely, you'll see the earliest of the jonquils and crocuses.  Here and there I have an early tulip sprouting as well.