Island Gardens with Peter Schinkel


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Hello all and welcome back to Island Gardens. Today we’re looking at rejuvenating a lawn. Last time I wondered what to spend on our gardens at home, it wasn’t $1000 or so returfing the lawn. While this will instantly transform your garden space, here is a method that will cost under $150 per 100 square metres. After a feasting frenzy by lawn grubs last summer, the back lawn was almost completely decimated. Now, thanks to seed and a little soil covering the lawn is lush again. I chose emerald Kikuyu lawn seed for many reasons, including local availability, tolerance in full sun or full shade, lush colour and drought tolerance.

The before and after photo shows a successful June seeding in the background and a ‘3-week-later’ July germination in front. Not sure what happened with the yellow patch, but it may have something to do with the puppies – (the reason I put the orange bunting around the July-seeded area). Here’s how I successfully completed this project, mid β€œwinter”. No preparation was necessary. It went straight on top of the old lawn. You may, however, wish to poison the whole area two weeks prior to embarking on the project. You could use a weed killer, or completely poison the whole area, remembering that a home-made mix of salt and vinegar spray will work.

1. Sprinkle seed up to 25% more than recommended on the box. Be sure to sprinkle evenly to avoid clumping later.

2. By hand, sprinkle garden soil over the whole area. You can use just half a cubic metre per 100 square metres. I like a mediumstrength (fertilised) garden soil best. It slowly releases fertiliser over the next six months. The soil will be around 2mm thick with this ratio – enough when wet to provide moisture (and fertiliser) for the new seeds to germinate within the next 7 days or so. You can see in the photo how much of the original grass is still visible with such a thin layer of soil around it. You can go up to 4 times thicker with it if you like, but either way, the soil covering is adequate for keeping the birds away from your new seed. It’s just a little too rich for their palate. How good is that? πŸ˜€

3. For the first month, water at least five days per week for fifteen minutes or more. After that, water around once a fortnight – more frequently during hot weather. 4. For the first two months of mowing, just clip the top off, keeping at least 60mm of grass to draw in the light, allowing good root growth. It really is a joy to see such a transformation, so give it a go one weekend and watch the rewards appear in front of your eyes. See you again in issue 123 on 25th September, and as always – happy gardening.