Last week on the blog Garden Rant a guest rant was published about the evils of lawns and why the entire public should rip out their lawns and replant it with vegetables.
Oh dear Heloise Horticultural Helpful Hints Not.
A lawn is a perfectly viable choice as a ground cover, especially when it is maintained with sustainable practices with an eye towards organic fertilization, water conservation and energy efficient mowers and irrigation systems.
In my arid Northern California climate choosing a site specific lawn variety is crucial , if not a matter of law and code compliance.
This requires some research and in-depth calculations, but by choosing a variety of drought tolerant grasses or a mix of drought tolerant grasses and perennials along with an advanced technology irrigation system ( matched precipitation rate rotor heads and an ET timer ) and properly mixed soil amendments, one can achieve a very energy efficient lawn.
There is no reason why you cannot have both, a lawn and a vegetable garden, unless space is a consideration and then you should have the freedom of choice.
There certainly should be no reason why one has to get all militant about it and dictate that armies of volunteer gardeners should march upon private lands and demand that these properties be converted into farms.
Yes, hunger is a problem in this nation but taking over the lawns of churches and private business parks by an army of community gardeners is not the rational way to solve this challenge.
There are far better and more legal ways to achieve a community farm and feed the needy.
Besides providing a nice flat area for a picnic, a game of kickball or an outdoor community gathering place a grassland can also be a viable economically and environmentally sound planting option.
Consider the environmental technology of the grass planted bio swale or the erosion control aspects of a red fescue rough. A crop of tomatoes or swiss chard would not provide the same solutions to these problems that a grass species will.
Knee jerk militant callings for the removal of all lawns in favor of vegetable gardens is just plain stupid.
And I don’t do stupid well.
Front yard vegetable garden coexisting with a small mixed lawn of crabgrass, oxalis, clover, achillea and chamomile
|From Potager Gardens|
A small compact lawn adjacent to a childrens play yard - Vegetable garden on lower terrace
|From Kids Play Space|
A ground covering of heathers , ornamental grasses and conifers spill across a two acre hillside bordering the Pacific ocean
Erosion controlling grasses and a drought tolerant hillside planting
|From R E D|
Native wild mustard growis in the foreground while native wild grasses grow on the hills beyond.
|From Alexander Valley|