On the topic of “going green,” I think Paul James, from the HGTV show Gardening by the Yard, said it best on his Spring Freeze episode. Here is a recap:
Going green, focus on the lawn. Turf grass is the most consuming resource plant of all. Each year lawns are doused with millions of gallons of water, not to mention all matter of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers, and each year people and animals are unnecessarily exposed to potentially dangerous garden chemicals. And many of those chemicals have been identified by the EPA and the World Health Organization as probable carcinogens, endocrine disrupters and reproductive toxins.
In a recent study, traces of lawn chemicals were found in 99% of 110 children tested, and it is estimated that up to 7 million birds die each year from exposure to lawn chemicals. And for what —bragging rights? Hey, I like a nice lawn as much as the next gardener, and if you would like to learn more about my approach to lawn care, just log onto HGTV.com.
The surest way to make your lawn greener, so-to-speak, is to make it smaller, add more garden beds or substitute ground cover (it won’t require as much maintenance). Add water features and paths.
Learn to live with weeds, at least a reasonable percentage of them. They promote bio-diversity, they attract beneficial insects, and many of them are only seasonal. Let the grass grow taller to shade out weeds. If you absolutely can’t stand looking at them, hand-pull them rather then reaching for a chemical. Instead of fertilizing 4 or 5 times a year, as often suggested, feed the lawn no more then twice a year using a slow release, all-natural fertilizer or sifted compost. In many parts of the country, once is enough. Grass clippings are a rich source of nutrients.
I’m looking forward to talking more about this subject. It is one of our guiding principles here at Mel’s Green Garden!