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Friday, May 13, 2005

It's Not True!

I ran across a notion today that I've met many times before, in gardening books, magazines, and web sites:
"Get rid of the lawn—No time to mow? Rip the lawn out and add an herb garden, a few vegetables, and some specimen plants. If you put in regional natives, you can cut down on watering too. Save your compost and put that on your plants instead of chemical fertilizers. Cottage gardens are much more interesting and useful than lawns, and they're easier to maintain."

I lived on and maintained an acre of yard for 5 years, divided about evenly between lawn, garden, and woods. The woods were the easiest part to maintain -- clean out the fallen branches occasionally and walk through with a machete twice a year to keep paths clear -- the lawn the second easiest -- and I mowed twice a week and spot weeded! -- and the garden far and away the most difficult. Gardens require pruning, watering, fertilizing, staking, and deadheading, but by far the biggest job is weeding. The idea that mulch eliminates the need for weeding is nonsense -- it helps, but sooner or later weeds pop right up through it.

4 comments:

  1. Hi. I'm really anti-lawn. What a waste of space. And in the end, you have nothing to show for the investment. You pay for water and fertilizer (at a huge cost to the environment) to make it green and thick, then buy a gas mower to cut it back, and bags to haul the clippings away. In the summer, you water more to keep it green even though well-bred natives politely go into a semi-dormant state to survive. It's really a silly waste of resources.

    Most homeowners don't have the luxury of 5 acres, so having a woodlot, lawn, and garden is never really an issue. Is a lawn less maintenance than a garden? It's arguable unless you have a landscape service taking care of your yard.

    My garden is virtually weed-free. My plants are heavily mulched with dairy compost and coffee grounds. Every thing is quite happy and it looks like I could have a bumper crop this year.

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  2. Sorry about that bum link to my site. I just set it up and then promptly forgot that it was all one word.

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  3. Hi Jane.

    I like garden space myself -- I just don't think it's less work. (Also, lawns are far better for, say, a kid's football game than is a vegetable patch.) I mowed the lawn with a push mower and spot-weeded it (by hand and with Weed-B-Gone), and found it took far less effort to keep it neat than did the garden.

    A tip -- don't haul the clippings away -- get a mulching mower.

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