Any thoughts on Pennington Smart Seed?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 04/11/2008 - 23:49.

I was surprised today to see on Channel 5 evening news and Nightline several advertisements for Penningtons' SMART SEED™ with MYCO Advantage™ . I don't recall ever seeing ads for grass seeds during the evening news (or evenings, at all), and, from the Pennington website, the ad promotes that the seed "produces a healthier, thicker lawn that grows a deeper, denser root system, requiring up to 30% LESS WATER and maximizes fertilizer performance. Pennington SMART SEED™ with MYCO Advantage™, is simply more "green"". Obviously, now is a good time for a discussion of smart, green landscaping practices...

We happen to be seeding part of our lawn and this sounds good... being "simply more "green"". So do any enviro-smart realneo folks havy any thoughts about grass, Smart Seeds, and whether this sounds more green. Is this bioengineering and will it wipe-out butterflies in my neighborhood. Is this an invasive species? Any other seeds that are better? Other groundcover suggestions?

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Don't buy it

  We can't really pretend that we have any natural ecology in the city.  Don't fight it.  We need the cultivated landscape in the city.

 Read Green Architecture by Barbara Stauffacher Solomon.   The only place lawns are natural are where ruminants roam, but with kids, a small patch serves as outdoor carpeting, so it's good to have a small area, easily mown with a push-mower.

I need to see how you are situated, again.  The front of your house offers the only real opportunity to grow anything.  Am I right?  I am thinking herbs, roses...really, Alenka knows how to maximize her urban garden.  We need her input on your yard.

Building the Independent Green Republic of EC

Thanks for the offer of help building the Independent Green Republic of East Cleveland... we'll need similar advice for lots of planting areas around the Star Complex and Intergenerational School, as well.

Evelyn is the gardener of the family and we have lots of good sunlight around the yard so can have many growing areas and conditions, including our small green roof.

To remove lead and other toxins, we have removed the old topsoil where we plan to have vegetable beds and will fill those beds with organic mulch and topsoil... those will be along the side yard where we have the most direct sun. We are installing rain barrels and diverted our Graywater to have irrigation for some large trees and decorative shrubs, although we haven't laid that out and placed the irrigation lines yet (waiting for spring). We haven't had time to install the green roof soil bed yet so what grows there and how is to be determined. And we have lots of other space for interesting plantings... welcome suggestions.

We will have mostly groundcover and will have a small area of grass in the front and side yards where the kids will play - a separate area for the dog with gravel (we replaced all concrete on site with gravel, to reduce run-off).

One challenge to figuring out irrigation and water flow is the clay in the soil here... below six inches or so of topsoil is solid clay that does not allow water to flow through the soil so it streams and pools... need some lessons in landscape engineering!

Disrupt IT

soil aeration , pumps, and koi

Just thought this article offered a variety of suggestions based on your tolerance for complexity and engineering savvy.   Simple aeration all the way to integrated koi pond!

Every solution seems to have its pros and cons regarding issues like energy use, technical complexity, practicality, but these offer some nice starters.

Would be interesting to look at geothermal/solar drainage pump modeling!




Hello Sudir!

Our yard in NEO is clay - which doesn't like to absorb rain.  So last fall rather than rake away any of the fall leaves I mowed them and reported about it here on Realneo


Through the fall I mowed LEAVES 5 times.   I raked leaves out of the gutter and onto the lawn and mowed them.    All leaves were welcome at my house.   


While the City hauled load after load of leaves away from my un-witting neighbors – the City passed me by. 





Now it’s spring.


The grass hasn’t grown since fall, so the chips of cut up leaves are still about as visible as they were in the fall, but our lawn doesn’t look really any different from the neighbors’.  


Then last week when planting the bare root fruit trees from Secors  I cut out some of the lawn – I undercut it with a shovel so it was 1 and half or 2 inches thick and lifted it out as chunks of sod.


I was amazed!


There  were red worms everywhere – I felt terrible – the shovel had cut many of them in half.  I think there  was a red worm active in every square inch.  the soil was alive with worms!


Red worms are  organic annihilators.   And they are everywhere under the lawn.  If they aren’t eating the leaves I mowed last fall – then they wouldn’t be there. 


Stay tuned.  Let’s see how the lawn fares this summer – we won’t irrigate.  Will the leaf mulched lawn have moisture reserves when the neighbor’s “ Scott’s 4 step plan” lawns dry out?  Will the clay be drained by the perculation into the lower levels of clay?


My money is on it.




nice organic solution

worm power!  stalwart squiggly sustainable soldiers - aeration and vermicomp fertilizer to boot ...nice!

Red worms?

  I expect Zebra Mussel to chime in here--From:


Eisenia Foetida

This variety is the best redworm for home composting. They produce a large amount of compost in their natural habitats of leaves, manure, compost piles and in many other decaying organic materials.

Lumbricus Rebellus

This variety will adapt to the worm box environment, but they are really a soil earthworm. Their natural habitat is in soils which contain a lot of organic matter.

Redworms are on the market under many different common names. Some people call them "red wigglers," or "manure worms." Fishing suppliers may call them "red hybrid," "dungworm," or "striped worm." All these names are for the same kind of redworms. If you order from commercial breeders, your best choice is Eisenia Foetida. This variety is used by many for worm composting projects. The Cooperative Extension office has names of suppliers.


Worms NOT to use:

Lumbricus terrestris

This is the night crawler. This variety is the most studied of all earthworms and most sold to farmers and gardeners. They are very important for soil improvements and are widely raised for that purpose. They like to tunnel in the soil, sometimes 3 feet deep. They come to the surface foraging for organic matter, which they take into their furrows. They mix sub-soil with their food and deposit their castings on the surface. Their burrows aid in soil aeration and allow for better water penetration. Nightcrawlers have a very important role in our ecosystem but don’t adapt to the shallow worm box environment.

Garden worms:

There are more earthworm varieties that might show up in somebody’s garden. To identify worms you have to count the segments, study their sexual organs and their behavior. It’s best to stay with redworms for your worm box.

My guess would be Lumbricus terrestris in Jeff Buster's back yard (? )

There is a fascinating story of worms in America, but I am not the one to tell it. 

See National Geographic for the story of how Worms Changed America!

what the english brought to Jamestown

That was a great story, Laura. Thanks for linking it up here. It's great to have an in-house library (your brain) and librarian (your skill).

I was especially interested in the malaria and honeybee introduction - one allowed for fruit trees and the other paved the way for slavery. Pretty interesting.

Extreme home make-over

 Usually, this show features a family with some incurable disease and the tear ducts go into over drive as the crew creates the family's dream home.  This time, I have to say, my heart really goes out to the Martinez family, committed to making life in the city liveable.  "We are not throways."

extreme home financing

I have seen a few minutes of these shows while changing channels during the rare times when the TV is on at my house.

My questions:

Do these families pay a mortgage on their new homes?

What about the taxes for these structures and the effects of the new dream homes on neighboring older homes?

Can the families afford the "dream homes" they are "given"? Are they given these homes?

How many makeover families sell these dream homes and move into something more affordable?

We see the amazing insta-construction, but we don't see the back end or where they are a year, two years, and three years out. What happens to these families and their homes?

Good question

I also wondered what happened to the materials destroyed in the demolition process.  On this particular show, I saw good light fixtures come down and get crushed by bulldozers.   Our society loves to tear things down, but could care less about the "trash."   We don't ask enough questions.  We just want the happy ending. 

But, the Martinez family still deserves credit for not running away from our societal problems.  We create these problems, we should confront them and solve them. 

Back to the question of Pennington Smart Seed, please

I noticed this posting is getting lots of "is Pennington Smart Seed any good" Google search traffic, yet nobody has answered the question... so what's up, Bill and ZM...

Disrupt IT



Third world farmers cannot afford the high price

In case other readers don't get what Chimera's saying here, watch this guy's presentation on


and then if you really don't get it

 theres a book Food not Lawns by H.C. Flores that can show you how to stop being stupid.

Step #1 - stop buying herbicides and pesticides. Round-up is death for all of us, eventually... and will make you even more fat and lazy. Using round-up should be the social disgrace equivalent of smoking.

Step #2 - demand the WTO and IMF stop destroying the food production systems of third world countries. They force these countries into chemically dependent agriculture systems and increase their import of staples. This drives their economy into ruins. There are few countries left that we haven't destroyed for greed. 

Step #3 - emai Bonnie McCarvel, executive director of Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) (bonnie [at] maca [dot] org) and tell her how disgusting she was to chastize the First Lady for going organic. Let her know there are many of us out here that don't buy their game of destruction.