Archive for August, 2010

A Greener Lawn

A couple of months ago I came across an article in Men’s Health called “Your Lethal Lawn.” It was a bit doom-and-gloom about the negative effects of chemicals on our lawns and the people who live on them (if you couldn’t tell from the title), but the point still resonated with me. It sort of reinforced our decision to stop fertilizing and using herbicides /pesticides on our lawn a few years ago so that a certain chihuahua wasn’t romping in chemicals… and tracking them back into our house. And as we grow closer to a time when Clara will be doing the same thing in the yard (and crawling around on the floors inside) we’re still personally set on staying fertilizer & pesticide free in our front and backyards.

The article wasn’t all about scare tactics though. It touched on some practical tips for moving towards a more natural regime for maintaining your lawn. Those suggestions piqued my curiosity because since banishing fertilizer/herbicides/pesticides from our lawn we really haven’t done anything proactive to maintain it and it certainly could use some help (especially after the heat/drought we’ve been “enjoying” here in Virginia). Luckily the article referenced a book, The Organic Lawn Care Manual by Paul Tukey, which even more luckily was carried at our local library (free books= booyah). You may have actually spotted it in some of our office progress shots from a few weeks back.

So like the captain of the lawn care nerd squad I’ve gone through the whole book from cover to cover, reading more about soil texture, grass anatomy, and watering than I ever thought I’d have the patience to read. It was actually quite fascinating and has me wishing I had the time, energy, and money to overhaul our entire landscape (fortunately the author offers plenty of tips for working with what you’ve got – some of which I hope to try in the coming months).

Many people actually wonder why we have so much grass while considering ourselves to be green, but because we don’t use any fertilizers/pesticides/herbicides and don’t even water our yard unless we’re seeding it (which we haven’t done for 2+ years) it’s actually a pretty eco friendly expanse of green. We even use a reel mower 90% of the time so we don’t even have the gas guzzling guilt to deal with. But anyway, back to the book. When I said I was acting like the captain of the lawn care nerd squad, I meant it. Just look at how many pages I flagged:

Without even attempting to play organic lawn care expert here, I thought I’d at least share some of my “aha” moments and tips from reading The Organic Lawn Care Manual so that you guys might get a flavor for what I found so interesting:

There’s a bunch of other interesting stuff in there (at least by my standards), including a nice collection of how-to guides. He also covers a lot of options for non-grassy yards like gardens and xeriscaping. And hopefully in the next few months I’ll be able to try out some of the things he suggests in an effort to green up our lawn both literally and figuratively.

Do you guys have any earth-friendly and lawn-friendly tips or tricks to offer? Any organic lawn care suggestions that you care to share? Or have you tried some of these things with much or limited success? Please share because we’d love to learn more – especially me, since I’m clearly a card-carrying member of the grass geek society.

*BONUS FREEBIE! When reader Alee spotted The Organic Lawn Care Manual back in our office post, she was delighted to see her company’s book in our house. When I told her I was planning to blog about what I learned she and Storey Publishing offered to give away FIVE copies of The Organic Lawn Care Manual to you guys! So if you want a shot at one of the free copies, head over to our Facebook page where we’ll be accepting entries today (and announcing the winners on Friday, so be sure to check back). Thanks Alee and Storey Publishing for the bonus freebie!

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Go Forth & DIY, Squadders

You may have already heard that True Value is back this year with their DIY Blog Squad. But this time around YHL ain’t on it.

As entertaining as it might be to have some big dramatic story behind our disappearance from the always-fun and always-creative lineup of bloggers, there really isn’t one. We just couldn’t swing it this year while attempting to keep up with our two-post-a-day habit along with organizing giveaways, answering comments, writing our column for Babycenter and Do It Yourself magazine, and of course taking care of our new baby girl. And sadly, the closest True Value requires a three hour drive so it’s hard to squeeze in a pilgrimage like that (especially since we’re now card carrying members of the car seat club – so we can’t fill the ol’ Nissan to the brim like we used to). But our loss is tempered by our excitement about everyone else’s projects. We can’t wait to see what our old squad friends have up their sleeves!

Speaking of which, the True Value Blog Squad has added a ton of newbies to the team along with some old favorites. Returning again are Josh at Bungalow 23, Brian & Paul at The Handyguys Podcast, Layla & Kevin at The Lettered Cottage, and our good friends Katie, Jeremy, and Baby Will over at Bower Power.

Joining them for their rookie year on the squad are Sarah at ThriftyDecorChick, Kate at Centsational Girl, Gabrielle at DesignMom, Kit at DIY Diva, Joey and Lana at Joey and Lana Make a House a Home, and Roeshel at The DIY Show Off. So many projects, so little time! And not only is this year’s squad bigger, they’re up to more things including appearances on both True Value’s website and their Facebook page. And of course there’s the $1000 True Value gift card that they’ll each be receiving to take on projects in their own home (like the basement overhaul that we tackled last year).

So set your browser bookmarks, make additions to your Google Reader and join us in wishing the 2010 True Value DIY Blog Squad godspeed on all of their adventures this year. We can’t wait to see what they take on!

Note: Since the official Blog Squadders are putting up a little compensation notice on their posts, we figured we should mention that we’re not getting compensated for this little ditty. We just wanted to explain our squad absence and share the exciting new lineup.

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