Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Green Term of the Week - Lawn Busting

Lawn Busting is the process of taking your lawn from grass covered to plant covered. There are many different terms floating around right now - "grow don't mow," "lawns to gardens," "food not lawns" and other terms/sayings - that have the same idea.

So why? What's the difference between grass and plants? Why are plants "greener" in some people's eyes than grass? There are several reasons.

  • Nothing to mow. Unless you are using a push mower, you are using fuel/energy to mow your lawn. I've read that running a gas mower for just one hour produces as much pollution as eight cars driving at 55mph for that same hours. Wow. That's a lot. Getting rid of the majority of grass on a lawn and using a push mower to mow what is left, can get rid of a lot of pollution.
  • Fertilizing lawns with chemicals is killing our planet. There is a high price to be paid for lush, green lawns. The chemicals used to keep them looking perfect are harming wildlife, children, our water ways and who knows what else.
  • Native plants are good for the environment. Part of replacing lawns with plants has to do with purposely planting native plants that don't need to be watered much. Plants that are native to the particular region you live in are native for a reason. The amount of rain that typically fall in that region and the type of soil are ideal for those plants. That means a lot less watering to keep the plants alive.
    It also means that native wildlife will have a place that is ideal for them to hang out.
  • Planting organic food gardens instead of grass helps people to become self sustaining and nourishes the earth. When food comes from your own backyard instead of the grocery store, lots of good things happen. You get fresh, healthy delicious food without having to hop in your car (which uses fuel and creates pollution) to get it. You inspire your neighbors to plant gardens, too (at least this has been my experience). You keep trash out of landfills (no packaging to throw away). Organic gardeners frequently replenish the soil with healthy compost instead of leaching the soil of its nutrients. The list could go on.
Lawn busting is gaining momentum in America. There are people who have no lawns left - even in the front. It's something my husband and I are talking about. With our boys, we still need a place for them to run around. But because of our boys, we have never bothered to try to keep the lawn nice, anyway, so we don't use chemical fertilizers. But we do use a gas mower (but we wait until it the grass gets nice and high before we mow).

We turned a nice chunk of the backyard into a veg garden this summer. I anticipate turning another back portion into a strawberry patch next year. As the boys get bigger and don't need as much room to run around, we'll slowly turn more of our yard into garden - both veg and other plants. My husband may even agree to get a push mower.
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Cheap Cookin Mama said...

Guess I started this with my little garden, though it doesn't fill up much of our corner lot:) However - I was excited to see little tomatoes growing and my egg plants are blooming. Looking forward to some good veggies this summer.

Robin Shreeves said...

Isn't it exciting to get stuff out of the garden. We got radishes already - post about that tomorrow.

And, my basil grew huge over the past few days and while I don't need it for anything yet, my neighbor took a big bunch to use in her pasta sauce tonight.

I think that's one of the things I like about having a garden. It really fosters a sense of community. I can talk to others on my street who have gardens and ask advice. I can give some away when it's ready but I don't need it.

Gardens are good.

Allison said...

I wish we can get rid of the lawn. 1. My kids still play on it. 2. It is my husband's pride and joy. He gets a little upset if it starts to die. He does ask me to find organic ways to feed it though. 3. The dog needs a place to run.
I guess we are stuck with it.

Robin Shreeves said...

Allison - I think when you have kids, they need a place to run around outside. That's why we will still have a lawn for many years to come. But, if you could convince your husband to relax about how it looks or find organic products that would be great.

Alison Kerr said...

I'd love to totally get rid of the front lawn, which really is useless.

Imagine instead terraces of grapevines interspersed with wildflowers. Sadly my husband has not caught this vision and my neighborhood currently demands that plantings are aesthetic rather than productive.

For the moment I've pledged to reduce the lawn area year on year and to grow food for my family and for wildlife where possible. My husband keeps the gas mower very well maintained and consequently it uses very little fuel. We use minimal fertilizer and no weed control chemicals.

Robin Shreeves said...

Alison - Your neighborhood seriously does not allow you to grow edible plants on your own property? That is outrageous.

What is there reasoning?