The following post is from Katie of Kitchen Stewardship:
“Ugh, it’s the little white balls again.”
“I don’t like the little white balls – they’re yucky, right, Mommy?”
“Yep…they scare me. We could cross the street so we don’t have to walk through them but they have them over there, too.”
“We’ll wipe our feet really well when we get to our grass, right, Mommy?”
Do you know what we’re talking about yet?
This is a normal conversation between my 5-year-old daughter and me during a family walk in the spring…or summer…or even fall.
The “little white balls” are the result of other people fertilizing their lawns or spreading weed killers – and the tiny yard signs that say a company has just sprayed that day, “Children and Pets, Keep Off,” are just as bad.
It’s one of the major reasons I obsessed about my doormat and entryway enough to write an entire post about doormats a few years back (!), and I still think of our mudroom as “the yuck” and tell kids to keep out of there with socks on.
Would You, Could You, With a Bug?
Nope. At our house, we just don’t.
No fertilizer. No pesticides. Nothing on our lawn.
And we only have second thoughts about two weeks out of the year, when the dandelions get so tall we start to lose small children in our lawn and worry that the neighbors will ask us to move out of embarrassment.
Why We Embrace the Bugs
Sure, we could probably figure out some natural lawn treatments – homemade concoctions with beer as the base, “eco-friendly” options at the hardware store – but I hesitate to bother with the research.
First of all, I firmly believe people spend way too much time, money and effort on their lawns. There are so many more helpful things to grow (um, food?) and do with our time (play with children?).
Second, when you fertilize, your grass will grow faster, right? So that leads to more mowing and more time spent. I’m pretty happy with the green-ness and lushness of our lawn, so I’m not going to worry about feeding it more than water during dry periods.
Cutting more than 1/3 of the grass off stresses the grass (leading to more fertilizer usage), and leaving it long-ish not only feels great on bare feet, but also tends to quell weed growth by providing natural shade and thickness that makes it harder for other junk to grow. Those folks who mow super short 2-3 times a week? Counterproductive.
And finally, aesthetics.
Do the dandelions look horrible? Well, yes.
But just about the time we want to scream and grab some toxic chemicals, they go away. (Phew!)
And thankfully, our neighbors don’t hate us (that we know of) yet.
And Why I Embrace My Doormat
When everyone around me is still pouring/spraying/spreading chemicals on their yards, I have a pretty strict “shoes off” policy for the house, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my own lawn doesn’t carry all these potential side effects (of grass fertilizers and weed killers):
- Pesticide poisoning – headaches, nausea, vomiting, fever.
- Carcinogenic effects
- Toxic pollution of air and water (even after it’s dry!)
- Cell damage, birth defects
Add to that the fact that my brown thumb and I attempt an organic vegetable garden each summer, and I really don’t want any chemicals on the lawn two inches from my tomatoes.
I also appreciate that my husband doesn’t have to spend an hour four times each summer spreading scary white balls on the grass, nor do we pay a few hundred dollars to have our lawn taken care of by professionals – I can think of plenty to do with four hours of husband time and a few hundred bucks!
The final bonus benefit?
Our garage and/or shed doesn’t hit your nose with an overwhelming chemical smell like everyone else who DIYs their lawn.
Three cheers for an “au naturale” lawn!
How much time/energy do you spend making your lawn pretty? Any natural methods you can recommend?
|Katie Kimball has been “green” since 5th grade when she read 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. She remains slightly disappointed that she didn’t actually save the whole thing back then, but now that she has 3 kiddos counting on her, she keeps plugging away hopefully. Katie blogs at Kitchen Stewardship about real food and natural living and is the author of Healthy Snacks to Go and other eBooks, available for Kindle.|