The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Experimenting with reseeding the lawn


Photo: ten days growth

Photo: ten days growth

This lovely hot summer and the pile of rocks that I dug out of the herbaceous borders have connived to wreck the lawn in the herbaceous garden. The grass paths in the kitchen garden aren’t too bad as they have been watered with the overspill from the borders. But when we peek out of the back door we saw a desert of cracked mud and yellowing grass.

Even during cooler summers the pounding of tiny Min Pin paws always results in a long grass free dried mud path down the garden. This year I was determined to crack this problem.

Sensible gardeners reseed in early Autumn or Spring. I had tried this with pretty pathetic results. If only the grass would grow with the strength that it does in the borders. Only madmen and those expecting a visit from Lynn Keddie the garden photographer would consider reseeding in the middle of a hot dry summer.

So, falling into the latter category, I invested in a large bag of Canada Green Grass Seed (initially developed for golf courses which must have greater wear than a small pack of Min Pin non golfers). It sat in the shed waiting for a period of rainy days so as to save on the watering. Eventually I gave up on this ‘rain plan’ and started the process of reseeding.  As the seed has to be spread at a depth of 3 mm I was soon out looking for more. A lot of places were sold out so I invested in Miracle-Gro Patch Magic Grass Seed – this is a combination of seed, feed and coir. The claim, “Even grows on concrete” had me tossing a bag into my basket in a flash. The system is pretty foolproof. You dig over and loosen the soil, scatter the mix and then water. When the coir is pale brown it needs watering again. The coir stops the seed being scattered into lumps by watering and provides a moist environment to encourage germination.

So inadvertently I have been testing the two products side by side.

The Miracle Grow Patch Magic wins hands down on the germination stakes. Teeny blades of elfin grass appearing after just a few days. The Canada grass seed has yet to germinate (after two weeks) and the twice daily gentle watering pushes the seeds into drifts which are a palaver to spread out again. As I’m not sure how strong the Miracle Grow grass seed is I reckon that it might be a good idea to combine the two types of seed. Starting off with Miracle grow and then scattering Canada grass seed over the coir.

These two products are expensive. I have already wasted pounds on regular grass seed that hasn’t worked over the years so if these work I might save money in the long term.

Thinking about it, I reckon that a much cheaper alternative to dealing with bare patches on a lawn would be to mix a tough grass seed with sifted compost and, apply a good liquid fertiliser and water regularly. Incidentally one of the ‘bad’ reviews for Miracle-Grow patch magic tried this and it worked!

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  1. Alicia

    Just came upon your blog whilst looking for some information about patch magic. We’re doing just what you did all those years ago – Canada Green down first, bow patch magic. We’re in to the third application!

    How did it work out for you in the end?

  2. Actually – -Coir is NOT poisonous to dogs, though if consumed in a large quantity it can absorb moisture in their gut, so they may be very thirsty and possibly throw it up. Coco shell is poisonous to dogs, but not coir.

  3. I’m another mad woman who’s been trying to get grass seed to germinate in a drought, but at long last it’s getting there. (I still think it was my shout of “Grow up, you little b*****ds” did the trick!)

  4. Fiona be aware that coir is poisonous to dogs, so keep an eye on them and don’t let them ingest it.

    Good luck with your lawn.

  5. jackie Gibbins

    I just love the image of pounding Min Pin paws!

  6. Joanna

    We just seeded a rough pasture around our new apple trees (don’t worry we mulched the apple trees to keep them grass free for the time being), our seed also collected in drifts but it is spreading out nicely now and been mown twice. We made the ‘mistake’ of sowing just before a dry spell and had to wait for the rain about two weeks later to get it to germinate. It was too much palaver to water it on a regular basis as it is too far from a convenient water source so it had to fend for itself.

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