Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Say No to Both Lawn and Chemicals That Kill Soil

"Having a healthy, diverse soil food web is critical if you want a healthy, vibrant garden. They do the work of creating excellent soil structure, making nutrients available to plants and even protecting plants from predators.
For example, there are special bacteria that take nitrogen out of the air and convert it into a form plants can use. There are special fungi that can get phosphorus out of the soil and bring it to plants, something plants have a difficult time getting themselves. In return, the plants send a huge amount of carbohydrates produced during photosynthesis down into the soil to feed these beneficial microorganisms. We definitely need these organisms in our gardens." Read more about how we kill our soil, and in turn hurt our plants.

And here's a great piece, with links galore, about everything you need to know when it comes to lawns sucking your bank account and playtime. Lawn is the largest irrigated crop in the country, using 30% of our fresh water. If you water an acre only 6 times a year, you use 163,000 gallons of water (pricey). My neighbors water unused lawn every morning, which increases a water bill, and believe it or not, carbon emissions (water purification and delivery, more mowing, etc). If you're not using the lawn, why have it? Why spend money on it?

Is lawn a carbon sink? Just barely. Check out this piece. A lawn can sequester 120lbs of CO2 a year, but a forest holds 2,000-6,000lbs, and a grassland 2,400 to 3,600. So 1 acre of prairie means you can breathe easier, work less, water less, spray less.... holy cow that's neat.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Doug Tallamy on Benefit of Diverse Native Plantings

Feed the insects = feed the birds. A diverse planting brings in a variety of natural predators for bug pests, too. It's so easy! You don't need chemicals. You don't even have to interfere--trust in nature, it's had a lot of time to perfect its craft. (It's just too bad we have such a short time to only make an attempt.)