Lawns certainly have an aesthetic and social value and sometimes are a great play area. Closely cut green grass used for landscaping or leisure, lawns were historically created by wealthy people who could keep unproductive spaces. With the invention of lawn mowers, lawns spread and became a standard feature of suburbia. Lawns maintenance necessitates high inputs not only in fertilizers and pesticides, but also in natural resources like water and petrol to mow it. And they don’t hold any wildlife. To me, they reflect the man’s desire to control nature.
I think growing vegetables is a more productive way to use that space therefore we progressively dig up our lawn. Advantages are many:
- We transform wasted areas in productive and beautiful spaces.
- We produce pesticides free veges, delicious and fresh from the garden, with zero food-kilometres and nearly for free. In her New Zealand footprint project, Ella Lawton has demonstrated that food and beverage makes up 56% of the total New Zealand footprint. The most efficient way to reduce our footprint is to produce half of our own food in our backyard, or at least eat locally grown food (page 27). It is slightly more efficient than becoming vegetarian.
- We reduce our waste as all green waste is composted and used in the garden. It is even a way to
store carbon therefore mitigate climate change.
Organic gardening is good for the environment.
- We take fresh air, build up muscles, stretch and burn calories. Gardening is good for our bodies.
- When out in the garden, we hear birds and smell flowers, we connect with the slow pace of nature, reducing stress while providing a deeply meaningful and rewarding activity. Gardening is good for our minds.
- We spend quality time together as a family.
Using a slammer, it is incredibly easy to remove patches of grass. Materials from Wanaka Wastebusters make frames.
Yes for a successful harvest, we need a lot of knowledge. It’s been built over the years, thanks to Dad, Terre Vivante where I worked for 7 years, Organic NZ, Dr Compost, permaculturists and friends’ wisdom. We also need seeds, also collected over the years and thanks to exchanges with friends or community swaps.
I’ve proudly added a Robert Guyton‘s Green Man sticker on my letter box and I am keeping an eye out for it in my community.
One advice: start small and expand over time. Now is a great time!