Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gone With The Lawn

You've probably heard that California has entered into a state of drought. Gov. Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency, meaning that water rationing could begin in towns and cities that can't reduce their current water usage by 20%. The Long Beach Water Department has been extremely progressive over the past decade in consistently reducing the amount of water we use each year -- but there is more work to do.

You don't need Yard Farmer to convince you that lawns are out of style. Everyone knows that water-thirsty lawns bring with them the attendant noisy lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and weed whackers that destroy the peace and quiet and spew pollution. Plus we could be using the same space to grow a ton of organic produce in a far more efficient manner than most conventional farms.

We have developed some cool techniques for removing lawns but there still is no way to take the hard work aspect out of "sod busting." First we bust the sod and remove as much grass as possible with our shovels and our best tools (our hands). Then we cover the area with trimmed palm fronds or mulch from local tree trimmers to keep the grass from coming back.

At this point, it's best leave the land dry for 4 to 6 weeks to allow the sod roots to break down. After we are ready to start watering again, the mulch and compost gives the soil high water retention and our programmed drip irrigation system allows us to irrigate only when and where the vegetables need water. You'll be rewarded with a reduced water bill, a beautiful, diverse farm-scaped yard and plenty of delicious produce. You'll also help out our drought-stricken state and support a return to agriculture that you'll always know is sustainable.

1 comment:

  1. I so love your idea of contributing to the preservation of water in your state. I've enjoyed reading your posts.

    I love a garden, our ranch and getting dirty with the everyday work. Yet with each small step individuals take as you do will not feed the entire country. There are just too many people who think their food comes from a grocery store and they are beneath getting dirty from a garden. Not to mention the need to feed third world countries.

    I also agreed with you on the horrid conditions of migrant workers in this country, many illegals.

    We operate our ranch on sustainable concepts but not necessarily an organic operation. Our garden is organic, the cattle operation utilizes Lowline Angus, a very highly efficient breed of cattle. To grow out our bulls we can't afford to feed organic feeds and then get the dollar amount for the bulls without going broke. Our mission is to educate the commerical cattle producer to a highly efficient breed that will allow them to produce more pounds of beef per acre with lower inputs for each pound of beef produced.

    Keep up the good work educating people to the benefits of a sustainable organic gardening!

    Just have to add your blog to my list of must read blogs!