Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
I've been to many small towns where they insist that residents cut their grass. It's believed that Meadows are unsightly. If you fail to cut the grass a city crew will be sent out to do it and you receive a hefty bill. For some reason this is common in farming areas. The herbicide crowd believe that grass over 4 inches long will cause uncontrollable weed problems for the neighbors. That's the excuse but I believe it's more about conformity.
Niagara Falls Ontario used to try to control what people grow but we had a large Italian population many of whom suffered food shortages during World War II. Front yard gardens became so rampant that the city gave up on trying to control these folks who were bent on self-sufficiency. When I lived there it was easy to tell which homes contained Italians since there were always lots of Roma tomatoes, eggplant and figs. Many would sell their surplus and that's how we got most of our vegetables.It was a very vibrant community and visually interesting as well.
My friend Franco DeAcio who lives in Nanaimo BC boasts that he has the largest fig trees in Western Canada. They are adjacent to his metalworking shop right up against the dark metal siding on a south facing slope only 5 feet from very hot asphalt." Hot just like in Italy" he told me."The best place for figs this far north". The cultivation of Mediterranean crops is a highly competitive sport amongst first-generation Italian immigrants throughout Canada and many have become experts at creating warm microclimates. Franco claims to have beaten them all.
In almost every other part of the world, North American lawn culture is considered a laughable waste of time, energy, water and gardening space
Joined: Dec 19, 2009
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
I have a nice large green lawn that I plan to turn into fruit and nut tree guilds. But until such time as the trees and shrubs get planted and eventually take over the space, I'll be seeding clover and chicory, every late February and early March, to supplement the grass and the dandelions, keeping it all mowed, and feeding the clippings to my cattle and chickens.
I started this year with a Honeycrisp apple and a Rainier cherry, both planted in plenty of biochar, and they both put on admirable growth. I'll be trying persimmons again, which have proven fatally drought-sensitive, and these will go in deep hugelkultur. But I expect to be mowing that lawn for a good long time.
Pastured poultry, pork, and beef on Vashon Island, WA.
I have had issues with local government in many areas of the country for replacing my "lawn" with wild flowers and ground cover of mostly white clover. The biggest problem for me was with a home owners association when I owned a place in a subdivision. They were even more upset when I turned the "meadow" into a random looking vegetable garden. It wasn't random, it looked like that to row gardeners.
"When there is no life in the soil it is just dirt."