I'm a fairly new homeowner in Austin and have been trying to be organic but I think I need a little help. My St. Augustine lawn is about a year old. My neighbors have thick, green grass but mine is thin in spots, looks dry in most spots and is yellowish. Most of the grass in the center of my yard has been going to seed pretty quickly (about 2 inches) so when I mow I'm left with hard stalks not nice soft grass. The interesting thing is, around the edges of the patio, fence, and flower bed edging the grass is pretty green, thick, and soft. But the rest of the yard is a mess.
I had been watering it every other day for about 20mins at 3am so as to prevent evaporation as much as possible and fertilizing with composted cow manure around all the holidays in the spring through summer (starting with Easter followed by Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day). Last year about mid-summer, I used Texas Green Sand to try to help with the yellowness but it didn't seeem to help--maybe I used it too late in the summer, maybe I didn't use enough. Seeing that one of my neighbors doesn't water at all and had greener grass, I figured I must be watering too much. So, I cut it back to every 3 days for about 20mins. It seems to be a little less yellow but it also seems drier and more brittle and the thin spots aren't getting better.
What is a good start for me to get thicker, greener grass? How often should I be watering? How often and with what should I be fertilizing? Is there anything organic I can use to thicken my grass so it resembles the lush carpet of grass my neighbors are getting with their chemical fertilizers?