This year’s giant pumpkin plant fizzled — it had the same stunted side-vines that troubled me last year — and I decided it was time to move on and spend my springs and summers doing something practical, like beer-brewing or falconry.
The pumpkin patch is now a bare patch of dirt, however. Our dog Bones assisted in the planting of arborvitae, and fall is the best time of year for seeding the rest of the patch with grass. After some light weeding and leveling, there was no need to loosen or amend the soil with nutrients, since I’ve been adding loads of compost and organic fertilizer for the pumpkins and it’s easily the richest, fluffiest dirt you’re liable to find in a typical suburban backyard.
I borrowed my parents’ spreader and used Scott’s Sun and Shade variety of seed (aka, Idiot-Proof Seed) and lightly raked the scattered seed into the soil. The key is keeping it wet, which is easier to do now that the hot summer sun is on the wane, and I’ve got the sprinker rigged in the center of the yard and mean to use it a few times a day until the grass takes hold.
The downside of growing grass is that Bones lurvs digging in the patch, tearing up roots and burying bones (for real) and playing ostrich, and because I removed the cheap protective fence around the patch in early summer (and foolishly threw it away), Bones has to be leashed whenever he’s let outside.
It seems unfair that he’s so restricted considering his help with the arborvitae. All that work, he must be thinking, and now I have to be chaperoned by a parent wearing pajama bottoms and untied sneakers.
After a single day, it’s already getting him down. This morning he saw a chipmunk lurking in the back corner, and although I did my best to run at his side and Chase It Into Its Hole Just Because, my pitiful man legs were no match for Bones’s usual speed, and the chipmunk, unalarmed by our approach, very gradually turned and escaped with no particular haste.
In other words, I let Bones down. I’m sure he’ll take a lot of heat for this, especially once the squirrels start mocking our efforts. But this is the way it has to be, and I can only hope that the yard animals will be awed by Bones’s unfettered speed once the grass is grown and he can resume his leashless sallies into the yard.