Sustainable Lawns: Oxymoron?

Environmentalists tend to be wary of lawns.  They see lawns as just water-sucking pollution factories. Some even strive to get rid of their lawns altogether.

Perhaps it would be better to fill my yard with plants that nurture wildlife.  Just give me time!  I'm the crazy plant lady.  It seems like a laudable goal.

But on the other hand, I have a soft spot for lawns.  As a mother, I recognize the value of lawns.  They remind me of our impromptu kick-ball games and failed attempts at kite-flying.  We have a lot of good times in our yard.  

How can we have lawns and still be responsible stewards of our environment?  Well here's my secret to sustainable lawn care: be lazy.  

1.  Don't bother to kill weeds with herbicides.
2.  Don't bag your clippings.  It's free fertilizer.
3. Mow less often.  That means less emissions from your lawn mower.

Go green, be lazy!


Can you overwater tomatoes?


These are my tomatoes after they were virtually neglected during a hot and dry spell.  No more yellowing leaves!  I've overwatered houseplants before, but never thought that could be a possibility in a South Carolina summer garden.  


Yellow leaves in tomato plants?

It might be overwatering!  I let up on watering these tomato plants and within a couple weeks they recovered.

This experience reminded me of my repeated failure with cilantro.  Not only did I learn from those mistakes, but also I learned so much from visitors after sharing my struggles on this blog.        

What have YOU learned from a garden mistake lately?

"Learning starts with failure;
the first failure 
is the beginning of education." 

- John Hersey


Vegetable Gardening with Kids

Our family had fun planting our little vegetable garden this week.  And after helping me choose which lettuce seed packet to open, my daughter actually asked for salad for dinner that night!

Vegetable gardening with kids teaches so many healthy habits.  

1.  Eating healthy 
Kids are more likely to eat the vegetables they grow themselves.  At three years old, my daughter refused to eat baby carrots from a bag.  Once she pulled one from the ground, however, I couldn't have stopped her from eating it.

2. Staying active
Like many 7-year-old boys, my son is somewhat addicted to Minecraft.  Tending our garden gets him outside and moving.

3.  Appreciating nature  
"Not all bugs are bad!" is a constant refrain.  We talk about pollinators and their importantance.  We talk about why I hesitate to use pesticides in our garden.

4. Learning patience 
In our culture of instant gratification, I think watching a plant grow from seed is good for the soul.  My daughter asked after the garden this weekend, concerned she'd miss the seeds sprouting while she was away at her dad's house.  We will celebrate the first sprouts, the first flower, the first tiny green tomato.  What a beautiful way to live life.