Would it not be great to have a lawn you can roll around in that’s safe for you and the environment. Below are the simple steps to take to achieve these results.
#1- Philosophy- You must embrace the fact that you do not need a PGA level golf course lawn.
#2- Soil- the foundation of it all. If your organic matter in the soil is thin then your lawn will be stressed…make sure when you start a new lawn that you have 4-6” of organic/top soil layer. If you have an established lawn you can rake in compost (1/4”+ each year).
#3- To prevent weeds in the lawn naturally make sure that you overseed bare areas with grass seed to prevent weed seeds from germination. The best time to overseed is in the fall, but early spring is ok too. Seed once a week for 3 weeks to really boost the density of your lawn. Use perennial rye grass for rapid germination or if desired use fescue for a more drought tolerant lawn. You can apply Corn Gluten to help control weeds in your lawn. Be sure not to put it down when you are reseeding a lawn because it prevents germinating seeds from rooting in…apply when forsythias are blooming…water in and make sure there are 3-5 days of dry conditions thereafter. Corn gluten is also a good fertilizer so this will count as a feeding too.
#4- Establish the healthy soil organisms necessary for a great lawn…apply Mychorrizhea and bacteria to bring your soil to life. Compost tea is also excellent.
#5- Check your pH and make sure you are between 6-7. Get your soil tested if necessary. Add lime to increase soil pH.
#6- A lawn with a great soil will only need one fertilization a year. If you lawn is high traffic or your soil doesn’t hold as much nutrients, than 2 applications may be necessary. Fertilize your lawn in May/June and September at a 1lb/1,000 nitrogen rate. Use a natural lawn fertilizer that is high in water insoluble nitrogen and potassium but low in phosphorus.
#7- Make sure your lawn gets 1” of water a week. Use a rain gauge to measure. It is best to water your lawn longer, less frequently…this allows the roots of the lawn to extend down in search of water and nutrients….thus building a better root system. Water in the morning. If you lawn has lost its luster or holds onto your footprints than it needs to be watered.
#8- Mow you lawn to about 2.5”-3” tall. This helps to shade out weed seeds and also keeps the soil system cooler thus reducing the need for water. Leave the clippings on the lawn. If you have a healthy microbial system in your lawn than those organisms will breakdown the clippings and return the nutrients to the soil.
When growing an edible garden container, there are a few rules that differ from decorative gardens. Caution is needed when treating plants for insects and diseases. These poisonous chemicals can enter the plants and wind up on your plate. It is best to choose natural solutions to remedy the problem. Try methods such as planting oregano in with your vegetables to get rid of insects. Pruning the affected areas or washing the plant with a mild soap and water solution will often eliminate a variety of bugs and diseases.
Managing the fertility of the container gardening needs a bit more management. You can use compost teas, fish emulsion and other earth friendly fertilizers. Because of the absence of microbial life in the container soil, we recommend that you use fertilizers that have a great proportion of water soluble nitrogen. One of the easiest and earth friendly ways of fertilizing is with Osmocote. This is a time release fertilizer that releases fertilizer every time it rains or you water…thereby maintaining a constant flow of nutrients and mitigating the leaching of excess nitrogen.
There also needs to be sufficient room in the pot for food production. Harvesting the produce at the right time is also important. Picking the vegetables or fruit as it matures will give you the best quality food while eliminating the chance of it dropping off the plant. Picking the produce at the right time also allows the plant to focus more on new food production rather than wasting nutrients and time on over-ripening.
If you have shied away from gardening because of a lack of space for poor soil in which to grow plants, an edible container garden is the perfect solution. Produce can be grown in any sunny spot in your home and all you need is a pot, plants, and some soil to get started.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or feedback.
It always feels good to know that what you are doing is contributing to the greater good of the plant Earth. With that in mind I encourage you take set some time aside to join me at one of our Earth Friendly Gardening Classes.
As the name implies, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with protecting our environment. Our environment is quite large and it would be wrong to think that a single agency could take care of it alone. As stewards of the earth we must work together to protect and nurture such a blessing. At Bayport Flower Houses we have always held the belief that we inherit this Earth from the next generation and as such must leave it in better condition than we found it. Of course the subjective nature of “better condition” is always a debate there are some simple steps you can take to make a difference. The EPA published a brochure which I feel is one of the most common sense and attainable paths towards gardening, they refer to it as GreenScaping, the easy way to a Greener, Healthier Yard. The brochure can be found at www.epa.gov/GreenScapes.
There are five easy steps:
#1 Build and maintain healthy soil
#2 Plant right for your site
#3 Practice smart watering
#4 Adopt a holistic approach to pest management
#5 Practice natural lawn care
By following these steps you will save time, save money and protect the environment. These benefits may not happen instantaneously but over time the rewards are wonderful. I believe that the best reward is knowing that you are part of the solution. If rolling around a natural lawn, watching butterflies flutter and trees cool the earth is for you than I encourage you to stop in at Bayport Flower House and let us discuss with you how you can be “green”. We’re here to help get you started and pointed in the right direction. Make someday…Today!
“Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another”