Friday, May 20, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green (4) - The Question of Grass

I have a confession. No, I didn't smoke grass in my youth. But as a girl dedicated to shrinking my carbon footprint, I have a love/hate relationship with the grass in our yard. I like having a place for my dog to play, for me to spread a blanket and enjoy the weather, and I like the color, but the hassle of the upkeep, not to mention the mowing drive me a little wild. Did you know, According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a new gas powered lawn mower produces volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides emissions air pollution in one hour of operation as 11 new cars each being driven for one hour? Yeah, gross. And the EPA also estimates that 17 million gallons of fuel (mostly gasoline) are spilled by backyard gardeners. That's more than the Exxon Valdez spill every year.

So I've made it my mission to remove as much grass in the backyard as possible. (I think our HOA would croak if we tried this with the front.) Over the last 8 summers we have put in four garden areas, planted trees, added raised beds for veggies, put in a patio, and now, I've finally laid out our garden path. I'll be the first to admit, I am hoping the grass will grow up between the stones (as you can see it has on the right side of the photo), but that can easily be taken care of with the weed-wacker, and it's electric. It's been a LOT of hard work to get the yard to this point, but for the first time, it's really shaping up the way I've envisioned it. We still have a sweet potato box to build, and mulch to put down, and plants to get in the ground and pots, but over all, I am so proud of what we have done. It's not carbon free, but our back yard is chemical-free, food producing, and low-carbon; and that is certainly a step in the right direction.

For a more detailed look, click on the photo.

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