The politics of green grass
I’ve alluded to my lawn a lot. Living in New England, I don’t deal with the same issues my friends in California deal with: a never-ending growing season and a real lack of water.
Just yesterday I was chatting with Em and she mentioned that the sprinklers were out in force in her neighborhood
. Em and I both have conflicted feelings about water and drought and growing stuff – we both grew up in areas where farming was a big deal and I guess that makes us a little more aware of the risks involved with growing stuff in the world.
The biggest risk, I think, is lack of water. (Too much is certainly a problem as well – but I’m not focusing on that.)
I’m looking at my tri-colored back yard, about 3000 square feet. It’s not huge, but it is big enough for us. And it is big enough to get me thinking about what to do with it – I didn’t do enough thinking before I threw down some grass seed a couple of months ago. I know grass needs a decent amount of water to keep going – about 1 inch a week for an existing lawn, even more if you are starting a lawn.
Supplemental watering is important if you want to maintain it – but if you’re not inclined to spend the money (we have to pay a pretty penny for our water) you can come up with some creative options: rain barrels
parked under the downspout, alternative landscaping or drought tolerant grass or even clover
I did a tiny bit of research this week about what I could plant along with my grass – I just ordered some white clover seed. According to some of the information I’ve read it should do okay in dry weather and will help the soil by providing nitrogen. I think that also means I won’t have to do so much fertilizing to keep the grass fed.
In the front of the house where we once had a tiny lawn I’ve taken out all of the grass and put down lots and lots of pebbles and small, drought tolerant plants like coreopsis. I water them when I remember and they do okay from early summer through the fall.
I’m not sure I’ll ever take out all off the grass, but I think I could see having a small field of short clover going happily in the back. You can cut it, it stays green and it is easier to maintain. Even crabgrass looks a little more appealing – last year it lived lush and green despite no rain or watering from me. Again, I just kept it short and it didn’t look that bad.
Being a new homeowner is hard, I make plenty of bad decisions (like no backsplash behind the kitchen sink!) and now I work to try to fix them. I didn’t give my lawn a lot of thought, but upon further consideration I think I can do something that won’t disgrace the neighborhood, break my budget or make anyone in the household unhappy.
By the way, if you think all this angst is crazy - we're just talking about grass - you should hear the discussions about what kind of lawnmower we should have
. You'd think we were talking about putting the Poopus to sleep or something. Clearly it is angst season.
Labels: 2006, yard