Have you seen the meme that shows a typical American front yard converted into a garden or edible landscape? I think the concept of this is beautiful. As I got older, I realized something, I’m not too fond of front lawns and caring for them. So I am joining the trend of #growfoodnotgrass.
I think growing grass is pointless. To clarify, I do not feel this way about all grasses. I believe native grasses are lovely. I am speaking more specifically about turfgrasses like St. Augustine and Zoysia. I didn’t always feel this way, but I realize my errors as I have gotten older. When I was younger, repeatedly winning yard of the month, I used to love grass and pay a lot of attention to it. I was continually dumping fertilizers onto my grass, trying to ensure that I had the greenest lawn in the neighborhood. I never really stopped to take into consideration the poisons I was putting into the soil and the waterways.
Even when I switched to organic fertilizers and continued to win the yard of the month honors, something didn’t sit right with me. It wasn’t until I spent time at my buddy’s houses in California’s mountains before realizing how pointless grass is. All the places I visited while I was out there all had one thing in common. Not one of these houses had any grass anywhere! These sights led me to start thinking and researching where the concepts of lawns came from and their effect on our countries resources.
A few facts about grass you may not be aware of
- William Levitt is the reason why the idea of lawns took off. Levitt is the inventor and builder of the first suburb. Every house came with a lawn. When people purchased the home, they received information about keeping the grass green and the importance of maintaining a neat and orderly lawn appearance. As the concept of the suburbs spread, so to did the idea and implementation of lawns.
- Runoff from synthetic fertilizers makes its way into our sewer system and ends up right back in our tap water supply. Of course, the water travels to treatment plants. Despite being treated, traces of the toxic minerals exist.
- The existence of lawn has created a 9 figure industry. Think about all of the companies that sell different fertilizers and spreaders. Think about all the people employed because of our love for turfgrass.
- More area is devoted to grass growing on American houses’ lawns than any combination of corn, wheat, or soybeans.
- It has no purpose. I may just be expressing my opinion here.
- The idea of lawns stems from European castles. There would be a courtyard that consisted of grass. It was a sign of wealth.
- Think about all the fossil fuels/ electricity used to maintain these lawns. Yearly, lawncare uses over 200 billion gallons of fossil fuel. Imagine the negative effect that has on our environment.
- Watering lawns account for around 2/3 of our freshwater use in America. Just let that sink in for all the places with droughts and water rations.
Tell me the last time you watered and fed something to get no result. If you grow trees, you can get shade, nuts, or fruits. You grow vegetables you can get produce. What do we get when we grow lawns? Nothing, we wastefully use one of us humans’ most precious resources, water, for nothing in return. The idea of receiving nothing but inputting a lot bothered me. I wouldn’t do that in any other aspect of life. Why should I accept that mindset with turfgrass? This idea of nothing was the primary thought process behind me, expanding my garden to the front yard.
I have always gardened in the back yard, almost as if I was hiding my passion. With this front yard garden, my joy for gardening will be on full display. Who knows, people passing by may be inspired to start a garden of their own.
That’s what I am all about, motivating and inspiring people to JUST GROW IT.