Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Don't Need No Stinkin' Chemicals!
This is a picture I took two days ago at the Loyola's in Fort Myers, Florida. I am standing in their front yard, looking over their lawn, sidewalk and right of way across the street and into a neighbor's yard. Notice how green and lush both lawns look. Would you believe the Loyola's do NOT use ANY fertilizer OR pesticides? So how does the lawn look so good?!
It's actually very easy. Mow high. That's right, AFTER mowing there is still 3 inches of grass blade left so the plants can easily make their own food through photosynthesis (remember?) which requires chlorophyll, the GREEN stuff. Grass clippings are left on the lawn, not bagged, to be used by the remaining plants for the micro nutrients they need, and any additional nitrogen they may want.
NOT using pesticides is the biggest reason why they do not need fertilizers of any kind. Why? Because they are not killing every living thing in their soil, the grass has access to all the wonderful micro-organisms and fungi that help plants survive in tough conditions. When we allow blanket spreading of pesticides in our landscapes, EVERYTHING dies, not just the roaches and fleas, and they come back as soon as the chemicals wear off a little. The more balanced we leave our landscape, the healthier it is, the easier it is for those plants to survive when it is too hot, too dry or even too wet, and the greater chance they have to actually thrive.
So, while the Loyola's work on their back and side yards, the lawn is left alone in front and it looks great! They save a lot of money by not using chemicals that are NOT safe for pets and children, (they have grandchildren, a dog and two cats) and their lawn thrives because of it.
See how easy that is? And the biggest benefit of all is to the water we all share. They are NOT adding to the problem of algae blooms in our river and ponds! We ALL have a responsibility to protect our communal natural resources. We can do that by simply doing what is best for our yards...leave them alone! Spend your money on more native plants from your local native nursery, and help promote the real Florida. (or Wisconsin, or Oregon etc.)
To see what else the Loyola's are up to, please visit the Transformation tab on this website. (Hint: they just put in a back ten feet!)