Our Grass is Greener

This is part of the Healthy Child Blog Carnival  – an effort by Healthy Child Healthy World to help inspire a movement to protect children from harmful chemicals.

Our home was built on land we bought from my grandmother, on what was once her family’s farm.  When I was a child, it was a peach orchard, and then a pumpkin patch.  I learned to drive in the pumpkin field, in the old dodge pick up while my dad watered the pumpkin plants with a tank of water in the back of the truck.  In my teen years, the land was used for hay.  After our house was built, we had to put in the lawn, which we did on a very hot day.  There’s no way that I ever want to do that difficult, tedious job again, so I really want to keep my grass alive and healthy.  We try to be as natural as possible, both for the earth and our family’s sake.  Here are some tips for a more sustainable lawn:

  • Resist the urge to pull or chemically treat weeds in your lawn! Since we have hay fields and woods surrounding us, all kinds of weeds sneak into our lawn, including clover, plantain, sorrel and dandelions.  These plants stay greener longer than grass during the hot, dry summer, reducing the need to water your lawn.  They also provide food for wildlife, and we especially love how clover attracts deer to our yard.  Clover is also a legume, which fixes Nitrogen in the soil, acting as a natural fertilizer and eliminating the need to fertilize.
  • Raise that mower! Longer grass will shade the ground and reduce evaporation, thus reducing the need to water.  Longer grass also means more photosynthesis which will lead to a better root system.
  • Plant trees! Shade from deciduous trees will allow your lawn to have some shade for protection during the hot summer.  During the early spring, the grass will be warmed by the sun, since the trees will have lost their leaves in the fall.
  • If you need to water your lawn, do so in the early morning or at night, before the hot summer sun will evaporate most of it and it’ll have a chance to soak into the soil and be taken up by the roots.
  • Feed the birds! We grow sunflowers and let other native plants grow so that birds will be attracted to our yard.  They eat bugs, reducing the need for chemical pesticides (we don’t use any!).  Don’t be afraid of bats either, they love to eat mosquitoes! If you need to spray a specific plant, try soapy water first!

These practices allow us to have a healthy lawn without using chemicals or wasting water, which is good for my child and good for the earth.  We can lie in the grass without a worry, because our grass is greener (even if it’s a little brown)! Share your tips!

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15 Comments

Filed under Home, Outside, parenting, Sustainable Living

15 responses to “Our Grass is Greener

  1. That photo is ridiculously adorable! It does my heart good to know that that soft baby skin can lie in the grass without any potentially toxic chemicals to cause any harm. That is one of the greatest gifts we can give today’s generation of kids, a non-toxic environment!

  2. Liza

    Google Ads plopped an ad for Roundup at the bottom of your post. *SIGH*

    Good post though!

    • Liza, where in Google reader? I don’t have ads here… that’s one reason!

      • Liza

        After the Healthy Child Healthy World logo –
        Ads by Google
        Kill Grassy Weeds
        Kill and Prevent Weeds and Grasses. Learn More at the Official Site.
        Scotts.com/Roundup
        It’s a WordPress thing, I think – it’s how they cover the cost of free blog space. Try logging out of WordPress and looking at your blog as a stranger would.

  3. Beautiful grass (and babe!)

  4. Naturally beautiful, Abbie, and BEST for baby Josh!

    I saw the ad in Google Reader (UGH!), but not on wordpress!

  5. ahhhh…..Although I agree with most of your most some of your facts are incorrect. Being that I am a turfgrass graduate from the University of Guelph and grew up/own/work on a sod farm there are some facts that I like people to know.

    – Although chemicals should not be used on a regular basis they do have a place in peoples lawn. Dandeloin seeds can actually cause health risks to people if breathed in and problems with your outdoor cooling/venting systems. A small application of Par III at a diluted amount is actually LESS harmful for you then 99% of cough syrups! Pretty crazy eh? IF chemicals need to be used in an investation basis they should ALWAYS be used by a professional!! Look at the professionals criteria, license, sprayer, concentration rate, saftey equipment. Too many uneducated people are applying pesitcides and THAT’S why we have problems.

    – Trees are acutally a no-no for turfgrass. Not only do they take up most of the nutrients but turfgrass needs 8 hours of light in a day to produce enough clorophyll to stay healthy. Most people will notice thinner, lighter colored and weed infested turf around the bottom of thier trees.

    – The best way to keep turf grass healthy is to overseed once in the spring and then apply 3 light applications of fertilizer a year. 1 spring, 1 summer and 1 fall application. This will keep the turfgrass healthy, strong and allow it to choke out weeds without the use of pesticides.

    – The best time to apply any form of irrigation is when there is no sun at all. My irrigation on my home lawn occurs at 2:00 AM. Even if it is at dusk it will still evaporate. No sun at all is better.

    Well I guess that is all for now….ha ha! Im sorry it is so long but turfgrass is one thing that I am really passionate about because it is how myself and my family have made a living for 4 generations.

    Thanks for making this post!

    xo

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