The Garden Diva in June

I’m sorry, I’m very tired, so I’m letting her take over. (The VBM and the OB’s office warned me this might happen.)

Have a great day, see you back on Wednesday, hopefully with a finished baby sweater, for, you know, the baby that is already here.

The Garden Diva’s editor insists that she finish this column – in spite of the myriad of things TGD still needs to plant. In the midst of work that is TGD’s true calling, she is to sit and write about caring for your lawn! Bah, Dear Reader, Bah!

TGD’s solution is really quite simple – get rid of your lawn already! Really Dear Reader, don’t look so shocked. Lawns are expensive to maintain, they are ecological disasters, they are an enormous amount of work, and many grasses don’t grow all that well here. It’s the green, grass of Kentucky. Does it look like Kentucky around here?

About that environmental cost. Fertilizer contains phosphorous. Did you know, Dear Reader that the province of Manitoba has limited the amount of phosphorous in a fertilizer to 1 percent? When a gardener over fertilizes their yard, that extra phosphorus winds up in sloughs and ponds, where it turns into an algal bloom, and chokes out the wee, ickle fishies. Pesticides, dear reader, kill good bugs, including the wee tiny earth worms that are aerating your soil for you. 60-90 % of earth worms will die after an application of pesticides.

And the cost? Dear Reader, Americans spent $30 Million on lawn maintenance in 2002? Did you know that your old 4HP lawnmower creates as much smog producing particles in hour of use, as does driving your car 200 Miles (American Statistics, Dear Reader). And then Dear Reader, there are those of you that throw out your lawn clippings – 30 percent of landfill bound waste is yard waste. All of this mayhem, dear reader, for something that doesn’t flower, and you can’t eat it! Enough!

Are you still attached to your perfect lawn? Are you willing to consider other ground covers? Rock, paving stone, and bark chips will stand up to the toughest conditions. Indeed, they are the only things that stand up to TGD’s non-gardening dogs. Mulch is soft and ideal for running children. Creeping Thyme or Vinca will stand up to a moderate amount of foot traffic and require no mowing. All of these will cover ground, are nice to look at, and are much kinder to our planet.

If you must maintain your lawn: TGD does earnestly implore you to observe the following conditions:

– Plant grass that grows in Alberta – probably a Fescue variety. Leave Kentucky Blue Grass in Kentucky!
– Do all you can to make your lawn as healthy as possible, avoiding horrible pesticides and fertilizers (the fishes and the earth worms!).
– Rake your lawn each spring to remove the thatch and add a top dressing of 2 inches of compost.
– Use a newer mulching lawn mower and leave the clippings on your lawn to fertilize your lawn, reduce the amount of water your lawn needs, and keep those weeds down. Keep your lawn mower blade sharp cut only dry grass to a height of no less than 3 inches.
– Water your lawn about an inch a week, less if it rains. And for the love of lobelia, please don’t water the side walk! TGD assures you, Dear Reader, it will not grow!

TGD lives and gardens in Edmonton, with the trés wonderful gardening diva husband and the non-gardening dogs. She longs to get back to the days when she and the gardening mother could cut the grass in their backyard with a weed whacker. Next month she will talk more about wee ickle bugs.

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4 Responses to The Garden Diva in June

  1. G says:

    Thinking of you Spitty.

  2. SAHW says:

    Wow, that was really interesting! I have to admit, I’m kind of gardening clueless, which I blame on living in a high-rise. But when/if we ever get a house, I’ll have to keep in mind different ideas for ground cover other than grass. I feel kind of silly, but I’d never even thought of other ideas.

    Thanks for your support at my blog…I’m feeling more optimistic today. 🙂

  3. excavator says:

    Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    Take good care of you.

  4. Tash says:

    Our lawn is just crap (not our fault, was crap when we moved in two years ago and we did a service for two years who did nothing about it) — clover, clover, clover, faint patches, etc. Mr. claims he’s going organic, but I have yet to hear how he’s extricating the clover, getting more grass to seed and crowd it, and ridding of the multitudinous grubs I seem to discover every time I go to plant something. I’ll let you know how he does.

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