Garden vs Grass

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by Durgan, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    http://moijii.notlong.com Garden vs. Grass

    1. Americans spend $30 billion every year to maintain 23 million acres of lawn. That's an average of $1200 per acre, per year. The same sized area could still provide a beautiful space for recreation and feed a family of six if converted to edible landscaping as opposed to traditional landscaping.

    2. The food you grow in your garden is infinitely fresher, tastier and nutritionally superior to store - bought foods that travel an average of 1,500 miles to your table.

    3. The bounty you obtain will allow you to share the unique gift of homegrown, gourmet - quality fruits and vegetables with your friends and neighbors.

    3. You will lessen your dependance on the intolerably wasteful factory - farm megacorporations that despoil our environment to produce carcinogenic "nourishment".

    4. You can eliminate the need to maintain an unnatural and energy - intensive lawn and transfer that time and energy to build something that is both functional and beautiful - your edible landscape.

    5. The simple act of gardening improves all aspects of health - physical, emotional, spiritual and social - to enable us to build strong bodies, strong families and strong communities.

    6) You will have the ability to teach your children, friends and neighbors how they too can drastically improve their health and quality of life through gardening.

    7) Instead of merely protesting the negative actions of others which all of us get wrapped up in at times, you can make a direct positive impact on the vitality of your home, and therefore community, and therefore our world in general.

    8 ) Gardening is unbelievably educational - you will learn more about biology, chemistry, meteorology and countless other life sciences and their interaction with each other as you cultivate your nourishing garden.

    9) Kids just can't get enough time in the garden! Rather than having your children dull their minds with video games, television and the internet, they can be getting a real hands-on education, develop a positive work ethic, and get a great workout to boot.

    10) You will be giving a gift back to nature - providing habitat for native birds and beneficial insects as well as stopping the harmful input of petrochemicals - and she will return the favor in abundance with delicious food as opposed to useless grass!
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Excellent comment!
     
  3. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    That's quite true looking at one angle.

    We also combined food plants among lawn.

    One thing to think about - if millions of people start growing their own food, then they won't be buying near as much.

    That puts farmers out of business, and every associated profession from warehouses to trucking.

    So what would be a good solution to handle the billions of dollars lost, and the thousands of lost job?

    One solution might be as simple as growing different crops, such as more soy beans since they can use the beans for many things, even automobile body parts.

    It would be nice to see more people switch lifestyle to growing more food. I'm amazed at how few people in suburbs of towns like Portland, Oregon, don't grow food. Only a handful compared to the entire population.
     
  4. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    I inhabit one of the finest growing areas in Southern Ontario. In the subdivision where I live, most of the lots are large between 1/3 and 1/2 an acre, and I have the only garden. There are large fields of grass only.

    The superemarkets are now full of prepared food, last check about two thirds of the space is taken up with prepared food.

    Vegetable gardening is fast becoming a lost art in Canada. Cuba by necessity just may become the envy of the world, since I have heard people grow almost all their food, and trade such in their neighborhoods.

    With modern equipment, most of the labour is taken out of vegetable gardening, and people complain about some of fhe 'fresh' produce in the supermarket, but refuse to change. It is convenient.

    As to affecting Canadian producers, most of the fresh vegetagles in my area are imported. Seldom is local produce present in the fresh produce section, even in the summer. Places of orgin are China-garlic, Chile, Dominican Republic, Florida, California, New Zealand, Turkey, Morocco, Italy,and probably other places of which I am not aware.

    Some of this produce is fine, since it is not available in our own country. I suggest we should become more self-sufficient for various reasons.
     
  5. Anne58

    Anne58 Active Member

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    I certainly like growing my own vegetables and don't mind the work involved but looking at the lawns around our area and the condition they are in I would guess that most people do the bare necessities of mowing and raking up leaves so I doubt that many of them would have the time or inclination to put in vegetables. These homes also have what I would describe low maintenance gardens - those that are filled with junipers, heathers, and other perennial plants that one can plant and leave.

    Don't get me wrong, I think having a veggie garden is great, I just don't know how many people are cut out for that kind of stewardship of their property :o(

    Anne
     
  6. lhuget

    lhuget Active Member

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    I've never understood the green grass lawn concept. I find it quite tedious to look at and extremely high maintenance because it has to be continually cut (even if you never water it). The only good thing I've discovered about it so far is: it makes a wonderful garden bed if you turn it over and let it rot under topsoil :)

    Les
     
  7. AlexH

    AlexH Active Member

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    But consider all of the money people would save on food, and how they could spend it on other things. Any time you make things more efficient and/or less expensive (and I would argue growing your own food is both of these) you improve the economy.

    For example, cucumbers. Around here it costs about the same to buy a plant from a nursery as it does to buy a single cucumber from the grocery store. The payoff from a single cuke vine is definitely worth it.
     
  8. chemicalx

    chemicalx Active Member

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    I've never been much of a fan of lawns in the front of a house - monocultures in general aren't healthy, and I find them visually boring, not to mention all of the environmental problems they create when adopted on a large scale. Though I'm not growing veggies in the front (they're in the backyard), I did rip out my front lawn and geometrical hedges when I moved in to my house, and it's now full of low water use perennials and bulbs that are beginning to flower - insects are buzzing, birds are visiting - what a difference!!

    Recently I read an article about an organization that promotes replacing grass with edible gardens - and here's an exhibit they're doing at a botanical garden in my neck of the woods: http://www.descansogardens.org/site/edible.cfm

    Looks great - I'll have to visit.
     
  9. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Speaking here from Ecuador, where grass is considered an extreme luxury item, the fact that many people have large gardens rather than lawns hasn't hurt the economy any. I'm going to assume that MD Vaden is playing devil's advocate on the economic issue, because if anything, it means there's more variety available at the small produce stores and farmer's markets because people tend to garden in front of their houses and not to monoculture here.

    Even large-scale farmers are rarely growing only one crop; the trend is towards permacultured fields with three or more crops growing together. Even the large growers of, say, banana (as Ecuador is the world's largest exporter) are also growing papaya or coffee or another crop (I've seen them growing squash under banana trees, for example) The only exception seems to be sugarcane. People growing grass on a scale comparable to North American lawns, even in major cities such as Quito, seem to do so to feed their goats or cows. Add to this the practice of planting a mixture of vegetables and cereal crops in any empty lot.

    What this does for Ecuador is make it 1) less dependant on foreign markets for its food; 2) less vulnerable to the failure of any one crop, and 3) decrease the overall cost of food, especially staple crops, on a local scale. Added to this, the general Ecuadorian attitude that "if you're using chemicals you're doing it wrong" and the ancient practice of letting fields fallow between nutrient-draining crops means that the land here remains remarkably fertile without resorting to the nasties of agrobusiness.

    It doesn't hurt the trucking business here, as that's normally taken care of by the farmers who grew the food - and I'm sure that if, say, Canada or the States reverted to this style of agriculture that the trucking would revert in a similar way. Further, it means, for example, that the potatoes I'm eating for dinner tonight haven't travelled more than about 50km to hit my table, and the same can be said for just about everything else I eat. I can buy corn from the people next door, or trade for it using passionfruit. Same goes for eggs. And I'm currently living in a major urban center. You could argue that Ecuador's not a very big country compared to Canada, but Canada used to do it this way too, and food was a lot cheaper and better then.

    We're actually seeing the good effects of multiple-crop culturing here now, as the coastal lowlands have flooded, wiping out the major growers of banana, rice, and part of the corn crop. However, people's mixed gardens in the highlands and oriente (jungle) means that only the rice failure will really affect us food-supply wise; and this only means that the price of potatoes, corn, and yucca (cassava) will go up a bit. On the other end of the economic spectrum, the farmers whose crops have failed suffer little economic impact due to the government's strong social assistance plans.

    So a big vote for tasty, practical gardens, and a big raspberry for frivolous expanses of grass.

    And Durgan, a large part of what Canada eats in the wintertime comes from Ecuador, although only the bananas tend to have a country of origin label on them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2008

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