Valley Gardening: The sodful truth

As I write, the clouds have rolled in, and it feels wonderful You would think coming from Minnesota I would have coping skills for the heat but I don’t. I’m thinking 84 is probably my high temperature. And 50-60 at night with the window open and a breeze is the best sleeping weather. 

I probably had 10 calls for sod this week—which I don’t carry, because it is too-o-o-o much work. I learned many years ago, when I managed the garden shop at Kmart, that there is nothing fun about selling sod. I will, however, share a few tips for you on purchasing sod.

First of all, get your name on a list at a reputable garden center for their next shipment. Get the sod the SAME day it comes in! Do not get sod that is a couple of days old—I was told that, by one of the larger sod farms in Pueblo. Do NOT water the sod as it sits on a pallet—or in your truck, or on the driveway. Do not water the dirt side of the sod, because it then creates a barrier and the sod cooks on the inside. Be ready to lay your sod as soon as possible—like the day you pick it up.

Hopefully, if you purchased top soil, you rototilled it in to your existing soil. And then, hopefully, you spread a new lawn starter fertilizer UNDER your sod to help promote root growth. Lay your sod in a brick pattern, staggering the rolls. The easiest way to cut a roll of sod is with a serrated bread knife.

Fold the edges of sod into each other, leaving no gaps. If you leave gaps and the sod dries up it is next to impossible to get those dry edges to heal. On a daily basis, water the seams. Keep the sod moist, but do not flood irrigate and drown it. If you have dull spots, you need to check watering immediately. You can usually pull up a corner of the sod to see if it has started to put down roots. 

As with any lawn, do not overwater, and do not cut short. If you did not spray the perennial obnoxious weeds and grasses before all your hard lawn prep—get ready, because they will come right through your sod. As I drive down Craft Drive and watch some of the progress on the lawns in that area, I shudder because I know those folks will struggle for years with their lawns. This is sad.

It looks like it is going to be hot through the weekend and way past the Fourth of July. If being around family is getting to be too much, take a break and go swimming at Splashland. They are extending their hours for the holiday weekend so on Monday they will be OPEN—and on the Fourth, too! You could go and pig out at the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, in the SLV Federal Bank parking lot, and then go swimming to work it off.

I think back to my Fourth of July’s as a kid. We didn’t get to celebrate too much, as the noises were too much for my dad—as I’m sure is the case for many veterans! I remember ladyfingers and the little snakes—I think that is what they were called. And we also got to do sparklers.

Please respect your neighbor, and also the animals in your area. One of our border collies from many years back always disappeared on the Fourth. I believe she even got as far as La Jara one year. It’s a stressful time for all animals.

You all have read about Peyton Sanchez and his ongoing endeavors to make our world a better place! If I had the energy and Peyton had the energy, and his family had the energy, we would certainly be in the parade on Tuesday because the theme this year (I think) is “Heroes Amongst Us” and there is no better example than this young man! Peyton and his family raised over $400 for the Valley Humane League a couple of weeks ago—a sincere, heartfelt thank you, Peyton. Thank you for letting me help!

I am hoping you all have a safe Fourth of July holiday. Be safe. Please remember why you are celebrating. And remember those who served so that you could celebrate on the Fourth. Honor a veteran today…and every day!