No Mow May 2022

It’s now may and many of you want to get outside to start making your lawn the most beautiful in the neighbourhood. Relax. Go easy with everything and you will find that your lawn will be better than ever. This spring, being lazy with your lawn is the best thing you can do.

The No Mow May campaign aims to get people to stop harming their lawns by mowing in May. Even Bob Vila supports it and lists eight reasons why you should participate.

5. Your lawn will be healthier.

No Mow May doesn’t just help pollinators, it can help your lawn for the better. By reducing the frequency in which you mow, your lawn can become more resilient to drought. Plus, it won’t require as much watering.

Each year, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 1/3 of all residential water use goes to landscape irrigation. That translates to nearly 9 billion gallons each day! You can help reduce that number by taking part in the No Mow May campaign.

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Nevada to Ban Lawns

golf

Lawns are the manifestation of human environmental hubris, and it’s hurting all of us. Regular readers of Things Are Good know that lawns are bad for a myriad of reasons (see links below for more info), and municipal leaders have caught on to this too. In the warmer, dryer areas of the US they’ve already banned the use of lawns due to water scarcity and some areas provide subsidies for sustainable landscaping to discourage the use of decorative grass. Now the entire state of Nevada is going to ban the use of lawns, good for them!

Even thinking beyond the insane amounts of water that turf requires, yards—often doused in fertilizers and pesticides designed to keep any and all natural wildlife away—have also become human monuments against biodiversity. Last month, when I reported on the drastic drop in monarch butterflies and the tribal coalition seeking to protect the animal’s migratory path, both Jane Breckenridge and Chip Taylor (who helped found the Tribal Alliance for Pollinators) cited the explosion of turf lawns as one of the main factors interrupting the natural habitats and resting places. The environmental case for separating lawns from the idealized version of homeownership is strong; the question is whether current regulations have the muscle to do it.

The City of Sacramento, for instance, currently offers a turf conversion rebate that helps residents offset the cost of transitioning their yards from turf to “low-water-use plants.” The program is one of many, as western and southwestern municipalities from Austin, Texas, to Mesa, Arizona, have pushed locals to ditch their turf in favor of drought-resistant plants over the past decade. Even the Southern Nevada Water Authority has a similar program in place, in addition to a developer-focused ban passed in 2003 that sought to outlaw planting grass yards in new subdivisions. But as a recent report from The Guardian showed, homeowners often decline these offers. One percent of metro Phoenix homeowners continue to use flood irrigation practices, dousing their yards in 60,000 acre-feet of water last year. That practice alone accounted for 7.5 percent of the water that the local water utility Salt River Project provided to the entire area. It’s as much as the entire city of Chandler, Arizona, used in a year.

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Join the No-Mow May Campaign

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Pollinators love the spring and they love your lawn….until you cut it. Spring time is when pollinators need a quick get up and go meal, which usually comes from those peppy plants popping through your lawn early in the season. You can help pollinators survive the spring by just being lazy and letting your grass grow. Yes, you can save the world by doing less.

Remember the best strategy for not mowing lawns is not to have one in the first place. Check out these lawn alternatives.

Conservation groups have been promoting the “No-Mow May” approach around the world.

Cormier said spring is a crucial time to help pollinators.

“Flowering plants in the spring, for example, can bloom and provide an early source of nectar for pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and beetles,” she said.

Cormier says allowing wildflowers and grasses to grow during this time will also help prevent pollutants and debris from travelling directly into freshwater ecosystems, and help with soil stabilization.

“We’re not asking for a lot of time. We’re asking for 4 weeks so hopefully maybe just take a break from mowing for a couple weeks, for the entire month just try it out. It’s a small commitment but maybe people will like it and I hope they do,” she said.

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Thanks to Kathryn!

Stop Mowing Your Lawn to Save the Planet and Your Time

Lawns are unnatural and require a lot of maintenance, so why do we have them? As a non-lawn person I just don’t get the appeal of a lawn when there are so many better alternatives which require less work to maintain. It turns out I’m not the only one baffled by the obsession with barely keeping grass alive through. There’s a growing movement in the UK (and elsewhere) to replace labour intensive lawn care with easy to maintain landscaping. Instead of a lawn you can plant clover, switch to xeriscaping, or any of these alternatives.

The no-mow trend is gaining momentum across the gardening community. The wildflower conservation charity Plantlife runs an annual No Mow May challenge, which encourages people to share their experiences of letting the grass and wildflowers grow, or even learning how to plant a wildflower meadow in the process.

Sarah makes an important point: not mowing your lawn this spring may help redefine your relationship with your garden, making it more about relaxation and quiet – and watching bee friendly plants grow. If you do like keeping active in the garden, you can always give yourself a challenge by growing a new plant, starting a vegetable patch, or building a bird box or a home for a hedgehog.

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Gardening for Beginners

Stuck inside due to the coronavirus? Why not learn to garden so when the good weather comes you can socially isolate yourself while also feeding yourself?

Rob Greenfield was nervous and hesitant gardner when he started and wants you to know that it’s ok to be intimidated by growing your own fruits and veggies. He’s created a great guide to help you get started in converting your lawn (which are not good) to a bountiful land of crops!

My goal with this guide is to help you get past the parts you may be nervous about. I want to empower you and activate you into growing your own food and sharing it with your community. Once your confidence level has risen and you feel like you’ve got the hang of it, I’m confident that you can figure out the rest!

This guide is geared toward beginner and first-time gardeners in the Orlando, Florida area. I would not recommend this guide if you are outside Florida. Instead I would use my Free Seed Project Gardening Guide. Florida is a pretty unique state when it comes to growing food and this guide is aimed at helping people working within the circumstances that Central Florida provides. This guide focuses on the basics of growing food and provides a general rule of thumb with ideas. It is by no means the end all be all of beginner gardening. However, I do feel that reading this whole guide will be extremely helpful to those of you who are just getting started.

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