Friday, September 18, 2009

I used to have lawn.... Now I have dinner!!

We are now nearing the end of our first season with a "lawn-less" front and side yard, where we have planted an edible landscape. The preliminary results are in- success! I have been up to my elbows in tomatoes and have so far canned salsas, pasta sauces, pizza sauce, and whole tomatoes to enjoy when winter creeps in. We have also enjoyed lettuce, fresh strawberries and raspberries, watermelon, eggplant, green beans, kidney beans, and black beans, cucumbers (and pickles), swiss chard, zucchini, red peppers, hot peppers, rhubarb, potatoes and a variety of herbs.

This was not a small undertaking. When we planned to get rid of the lawn, I pretty much knew I would be devoting my summer to the garden. But happily. Sean and I both hate to mow, and we never got much satisfaction from are perpetually half-dead lawn. We found no joy in walking around clumsily in our spiked aerating sandals or in spreading the (albeit organic) weed-n-feed fertilizer concoction each spring.

The alternative, for us, is a labor of love. Well, and of sustenance. We have cut our grocery bill at least in half, and we are feeling really good about eating fresh, local, chemical-free food. I have no idea what this does to our carbon foot-print, but when I learned that a single head of lettuce that travels from California to my table has something like 50 times the carbon footprint of that grown in my own backyard, it was hard not to take note.

We have, of course, supplemented our harvest with meats, dairy, and other things we can't find in our backyard (although much of it has come from the local co-op, which is conveniently a half-mile down the road.) We have also become more aware of nutritional values of different foods, more creative cooks, and less reliant on processed food.

Next year's garden plan will be tweaked a bit. (I've learned I DON'T need 75 tomato plants, for instance.) Soil will be amended, bed locations changed a bit to maximize sun... and, yes, there will likely be even more garden and LESS lawn as we add even more edible space.

Visit the Blue Planet Garden Blog to see how others are changing their landscapes. Lawn Reform, a collaboration of nine bloggers from around the US, is trying to reshape how we all think about lawns and their roles in gardens.


Susan Morrison said...

What a wonderful post and I LOVE the transformation the photographs show. Isn't it amazing that the concept of a carbon footprint barely existed in our collective consciousness a few years ago, and now it's a yardstick we take for granted?

Thanks for linking to Blue Planet Garden. There have been so many inspiring posts, I'm glad I'm choosing the winners from a hat instead of having to pick the best posts!

Town Mouse said...

What a wonderful transformation! And I'm so impressed by the photos, it's hard to get those angles right.

Thanks for sharing

Susan Morrison said...

You are one of the lawn reform contest winners, but I don't have your contact info. My email is on my blog - send me your address.

Congrats! Blue Planet Garden Blog

Arika said...

Hey this is really interesting! I just bought a four-square home in Michigan and I am also trying to make a lot of my yard into edible landscape! I am going to read up on your blog for advice! :) Thanks for sharing! If you want to check out my blog on our house/garden adventures, here's a link!