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!
Other posts to check out: