Too Cold to Plant Grass Seed?

These are the main tools I used for this project. I also used a pair of gloves, a garden hose, and a wagon to haul some dirt – all things I had on hand. This project cost me $0.00.

We planted some grass seed last Sunday, October 7, 2012. The question on the table is – “Is it too cold to plant lawn seed?” And another question might be “Is it too late to plant seed?”

Some parts of the country are reporting temperatures of 80 degrees. But here in northern Indiana, the temperature is 47 degrees.

The assignment is to plant grass seed into a bare spot by a patio in the back yard. Obviously, this should have been done sooner. But now it’s turned into an experiment.

We want to do this without spending any money. We can do this with what we’ve got around the house already, but we’re wondering if we’ll have any success.

Several factors are against us:

  • Cold weather.
  • No starter fertilizer.
  • 2 year old grass seed.
  • Lousy top soil.

The spot we’re seeding had previously been part of a walkway with some stone around it. There are still leftover stones present, and we’re not going to get rid of them. This is the BACK yard. We want it to look nice but hardly anyone will ever see it anyway.

Let’s get started.

The picture below is what we started with – lots of weeds and junk to rake out.

It’s important to get rid of the weeds before filling in those bare spots.

Although the area was small, we removed quite a few weeds.

Next, we raked up the area really well to smooth out the surface and loosen up any compaction. We also added some more soil to the spot. We say “soil,” but we actually got it out of a pile in the backyard where dirt from other projects had been placed. So this “soil” is anything but rich, beautiful, black top soil. It’s literally just a bunch of dirt from the back yard. Wonder how this is going to work out?

Not your best top soil, but it works well for what we’re doing. It’s the back yard, for crying out loud!

After working the new soil into the bare spot, we spread some fertilizer on top of the ground and worked it in. Since we don’t have any starter fertilizer (big middle number on the bag), we’re using a winterizer product that’s higher in nitrogen, but also has some potash and natural organics. We’ll see how it goes.

This is the view of our fertilizer inside the bag. Notice the consistent particle size.

Our fertilizer spread onto the ground. Next we’ll work it into the top few inches of the soil.

Once we work our fertilizer in, we’ll add some quality seed. Although our seed tag shows us the seed is two years old, we’re hoping the germination is still pretty good.

Notice the “tested” date in the bottom right hand corner. Other than that, this is some mighty fine seed – very clean – and should match up well with the tall fescue that’s planted next to it.

We’re seeding this a little heavy hoping to compensate for any seed with poor germination. We’re not overly optimistic about this project.

Once the seed is down, we rake it into the soil and water it. Normally you’d want to put down some mulch or straw, but with the cooler temperatures and moisture we’re having, we’re going to go on the cheap again with this step.

So there are a lot of factors adding up that are against this being a successful seeding. Let’s watch this spot closely to see what happens.

Water your seeding deeply the first time. You want your soil to be wet 6-8 inches deep.

Maybe this earthworm is a sign that the soil isn’t so bad after all!

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