From Grist–The lawn goodbye: A desperate nation paints its yards green

It’s that time of year again when I need to get outside and start working in the garden. As with every spring, I have big dreams and a small budget, and over the next few weeks there will be compromises to both. I am looking forward to putting my gloves on and getting into the dirt.

I do not, however, work on the lawn. We have lawn, sort of, which consists of weed-infested “grass” areas that the kids and dogs work their hearts out trying to kill. I don’t use herbicides or pesticides–as I explain to the kids, weeds and grubs don’t cause cancer, but many yard chemicals do. I rarely use fertilizer, too, since organic fertilizer smells like food to the dogs, though experience has shown that it does not digest well. I will also wait until absolutely necessary to turn the sprinklers on–when the grass starts to crunch, I will admit defeat and water it.

It has never occurred to me to just fake it. Grist has the skinny on the new fad of painting your lawn in lieu of caring for it:

The lawn goodbye: A desperate nation paints its yards green | Grist.

From the article:

It also has a prominent link where you can learn about starting “your very own HOT lawn care business.” And that struck me as more than a little sad. The idea that painting lawns green is a growth industry — an income source that might enable people to keep their own lawns painted green and the homeowners’ association at bay — says a lot about where we’ve come to as a country.

A flawless green grass lawn is nothing more than a status symbol. It does not provide food, nor does it support wildlife. The repeated applications of chemicals needed to maintain perfection render such lawns unsafe for children and pets. Heck, you can’t even walk on it regularly without compromising the root structure of the monoculture grass, much of which is shallow rooted as a result of frequent watering. Despite being useless, though, people want that green lawn so much that they are willing to dye their yards green, in a sort of agricultural gold-plating.

Paint my yard green? Never.

This year, I am going to find a way to rip our more of my grass and my put little patch of land to more productive use. Many food plants are also attractive, and there is no reason that a food-producing yard can’t also be a well-landscaped one, nor must food plants be grown only in the vegetable patch. Any grass left can serve as pathways and dividers throughout an opulent garden, rather than being the main attraction. I don’t know if my budget will permit me to build out my grand vision this year, but I want to make progress towards reducing the useless grass and increasing the fresh food right outside my own door.

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