Thursday, October 15, 2009

Autumn rituals

An autumn ritual in urban areas of Phoenix (and surrounding cities) is to plant 'winter grass'. Businesses do it, homeowners do it... but at our house, we don't.

Winter grass is ryegrass. It is a delicate grass that requires a LOT of water. Usually those with ryegrass lawns rotate between bermuda grass in the summer, ryegrass in the winter. The rye has to be re-seeded every year and then deeply fertilized and watered. It grows a beautiful shade of green and is even delicate to look at. But before the seeds can be planted, the bermuda has to be scalped completely down.

At my work site, it means mowers are brought in and used to scalp the lawn until the dust flies.

It is horrible if you have asthma or dust allergies...
The site from my office window every October is this:

One of our neighbors participates in the same ritual. He scalps his grass, plants ryegrass seed, covers the lawn with manure, and sticks pinwheels all around to keep the birds from eating the grass seeds. He monitors the grass daily, keeping his kids strictly on the sidewalks and 'off the grass'.

It just takes a few cold nights, LOTS of water, and cool days to bring the seeds forth into a delicate grass. In May (or sometimes April) when the daytime temperatures rise to 100 again, the ryegrass dies off and the bermuda breaks through.

Our abode sticks with dead grass all winter. Instead we grow a few fruits and vegetables.

Sealaura, here are your tomatoes!
Can you believe how quickly the plants have produced the fruit?


sealaura said...

love that first picture so pretty and so southwest. I love cacti. ooh and my beautiful tomatos! so lovely. muchas gracias. i love the green color in these shots.

altadenahiker said...

Cacti are sculptures. Do you have ocotillo? I've tried, but our weather apparently just tortures them. Ocotillo and saguaro, impossible here.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Karin, Ocotillo abound here. Beautiful blooms after a touch of rain.. I'll take some photos.

Night-Blooming Cereus (aka Arizona Queen-of-the-night)are going crazy now... more photos to follow on 'em too.

altadenahiker said...

do show me the queen of the night. I have one, but it has never, ever bloomed. Maybe I should move it. Duh.

Granny J said...

We took a night blooming cereus plant back to Florida many, many years ago. Finally had one blossom, to a helluva lot of fanfare. Better than bermuda grass, which is my one cause of hay fever.