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Get Off Your Grass and Create an Edible Lawn

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Get Off Your Grass and Create an Edible Lawn

Americans currently spend more than 30 billion dollars, millions of gallons of gasoline, and countless hours to maintain the dream of the well-kept lawn. An estimated 67 million pounds of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides are applied around homes and gardens yearly. Commercial areas such as parks, schools, playing fields, cemeteries, industrial, commercial and government landscapes, apply another 165 million pounds.

Lawn grasses are not native to the North American continent. A century ago, people would actually pull the grass out of their lawns to make room for the more useful weeds that were often incorporated into the family salad or herbal tea. It was the British aristocracy in the 1860s and ’70s, to show off their affluence that encouraged the trend of weed-free lawns, indicating one had no need of the more common, yet useful plants. Homeowners were encouraged to cultivate lawns that would serve as examples to passersby. These types of lawns also lent themselves to the popular lawn sports, croquet and lawn tennis. From the 1880s through 1920s in America, front lawns ceased to produce fodder for animals, and garden space was less cultivated, promoting canned food as the “wholesome choice.” Cars replaced the family horse and chemical fertilizers replaced manure.

It has been estimated that about 30 percent of our nation’s water supply goes to water lawns. In Dallas, Texas, watering lawns in the summer uses as much as 60 percent of the city water’s supply.

On weekends, we increase noise and gasoline consumption to mow down the grass we have worked so hard to grow. Running a power mower for one half hour can produce as much smog as driving a car for 172 miles (E – The Environmental magazine, May/June 1992). Bizarre customs, are they not?

The definition of a “good” lawn has come to mean, a plot of land growing a singular type of grass, kept mowed, maintaining a smooth even surface, uniform in color, with no intruding weeds. The United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Golf Association and The Garden Club of America have promoted this type of lawn. Lest a weed appear, it was to be destroyed at once. Manicured lawns have become an opportunity for rivalry between neighbors and an example of man’s domination over nature.

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Read more: Eating for Health, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Green Kitchen Tips, Health, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, , , , , , , , ,

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Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over 40 years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of 12 books, including Rawsome!. Find more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at brigittemars.com. Also check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at rainbeaumars.com.

131 comments

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8:58PM PDT on May 16, 2014

An interesting and insightful comment, edible lawns are a marvellous and healthy way to go.

8:38PM PDT on May 16, 2014

Good ideas! Thank you!

9:10AM PDT on Mar 21, 2014

end of my post

Also the idea of lightly massaging the greens to break down the cells walls & make them more digestible was something I didn't know about. I will be trying that recipe this spring!

9:09AM PDT on Mar 21, 2014

We have a lawn on which we use only organic fertilizer, no commercial fertilizers/pesticides/herbicides. We don't do any weeding so we have lots of dandelions, clover & other "weeds". We do get it mowed, & the cutting height is shorter than 3" but in the northeast ticks carrying Lyme disease are a serious problem. Keeping your lawn shorter is one of the ways to discourage them because they become dried out. Spraying your entire property for ticks is extremely harmful environmentally, as any insecticide that will kill ticks will also kill beneficial insects and butterflies. The other "least harmful" methods to control deer ticks I know of are: 1) Guinea Hens, who will chow down on ticks & clean your lawn up in no time but require care & may wander off, 2) creating a "barrier" around your lawn with a 3' wide "fence" of stones, mulch or landscaping fabric which ticks are not eager to cross because they may dry out - you can also spray just this area with Pyrethrum or Permethrin, relatively low toxicity pesticides; or 3) in spring, put out cardboard tubes with cotton balls soaked in Pyrethrum or Permethrin. Mice take the cotton balls for their nests. This does not harm the mice, but it kills the ticks & white footed mice are the primary hosts for Lyme ticks, not deer.

I found the video informative. I never thought about picking dandelion greens before they flower, although of course it makes sense since you want to pick spinach before it bolts. Also the id

11:06PM PDT on Nov 2, 2013

thanks for sharing

10:13AM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

GOLF COURSES are one of the WORST ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS. They benefit, of course, the WEALTHY 1% who are building more and more golf courses on beautiful islands and other "vacation areas", DISRUPTING VILLAGES AND SUSTAINABLE INDIGENOUS ECONOMIES while doing so, all IGNORING their SELFISHNESS.
This just for variety of "fun" and "recreation"! The tourist dollars generally go to foreign hotel chains and in NO WAY benefit the local people, except a very few, "lucky" ones, may get servants' jobs.
GOLF COURSES of course, use HUGE AMOUNTS OF HERBICIDES AND PESTICIDES to keep their lawns clean and smooth -- there is NO OTHER WAY, of course.

Very IRONIC, that Golf itself started as a game in Scotland, utilizing rough ground that was not useful for any other purposes, "waste" ground! It was "standardizing" scores and competitive gaming, that called for "even" lawns and "pre-planned" "hazards", standardized from one golf course to another. When it was a game of the People, they just took what came on that particular patch of rough ground!

6:00PM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

Good article. Thanks for sharing these great ideas.

10:15AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Where I live in the UK all garden waste has to be composted, a special bin is provided and the waste is collected from those who cannot compost at home. This year though it has been so dry, we have had 10% of our normal amount of rain (we live in the semi arid East Anglia part of the UK) that the grass is pretty much dying and not growing. Our water is metered and watering the lawn is simply that we don't tend to do, it is simply too expensive.

4:01AM PDT on May 22, 2011

people in countryside in Javaness society where i was born always plant edible plants in their yarn, so if they don't have money to buy vegetables or something to eat that day, they just simply go to their lawn and pick vegetables, chili, and others to cook, cassava leaf, papaya leaf and flowers,spinach, and others. not to mention many kind of fruit trees (children always love to climb it) and herbs to make traditional medicine.
of course it's not that easy in urban areas nowadays, but here in Indonesia, it's just common

11:43AM PDT on May 20, 2011

Already have violets in the yard and garden. They're pretty.

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