Are You Making the Most of Your Land?
Well….are you? It may be something you don’t think about often, but with our current water shortages and over use of chemicals, it may be time to do so now. Throughout history, land has been a precious commodity. With it, water, sustenance and protection in the form of shelter of ones self and family. Well we seem to have mastered (for most of us) the shelter part, having most Americans in some form of home, most with land. One thing landowners have in common no mater how large or small is the importance of making the best use of your space and conserving resources on that land.
Many cultures to this day believe it is disrespectful, and ungrateful to mismanage the land we are in possession of. Most Asian cultures believe lawn to be a weed plant that takes up valuable resources. Native Americans have for centuries grown herbs crops and plants for medicine as well as food and my culture (Mediterranean /Italian) use their land for sustenance and for their livelihood. Growing native plants in our space is also important to this equation as they each serve a purpose in our Eco system whether it be in the form of shelter to animals and wildlife, food for bee’s and birds and supplies in the form of wood and thatch. I could mention culture after culture of gardeners and stewards of land and guess what… no lawns.
So I can already hear some of you saying, “I have kids and dogs, where will they play?” Well my suggestion is that most cities have huge parks for just such an occasion, but to compromise, lets say we compromise 😉 How about you turn some of that water hogging sod into a veggie and herb bed for you and your kids to discover the wonders of eating right off the vine, tree or bush. I can assure you, you haven’t really tasted food until you have grown it yourself. Or maybe you take up some of that lawn space with a few fruit trees or an ocean of wild flowers and cutting flowers, native grasses or herbs.
The general idea is that you use your space to grow food and provide shelter for yourself and the wildlife that come to visit. The original purpose of owning land was intended to provide individuals with the space to grow food for their families, animals and hopefully enough to carry you from season to season. We have gotten so far from the path of our ancestors that we are now growing lawns and feeding them with toxic chemicals and watering them to the tune of small fortunes and for nothing more than to have another job to do each week, in having to mow,edge, blow and care for them, or worse yet..paying someone else to do it for you. What do you really get back from your lawn? Here in Texas, the grass is so scratchy and the fire ants so prevalent, I don’t find my self sitting in a grass patch very often. However, my family and I have benefited tremendously from the pounds of abundant fruit, vegetables and herbs we harvest each year. Not to mention the benefit of a low maintenance, low water, plant selection, which sod most definitely does not qualify.
Now you don’t have to create the Garden of Eden, but you can start small and see the rewards for yourself. By planting a few fruit trees and saving the annual total of hundreds a year by not paying a premium for store bought, prematurely picked produce while eating the chemical pesticides and wax they use to make them pretty.
Collect rain water to water and organically fertilize with, and start a compost pile to recycle scraps from the food you eat. You use the compost to fertilize the food you are growing and it all comes full circle the way nature intended.
Children are much more likely to try a new fruit or veggie that they grow than they are from the store. I have seen it myself in school aged children, they take pride in their successes and look forward to the daily changes in their gardens. When my oldest son was very little we started with a 10×12 bed and grew cantaloupe, green beans, carrots, spinach, broccoli, herbs, tomatoes, Watermelons and Pumpkins. I would let him choose plants and seeds that he wanted to try and each year he got more adventurous. Not only does the experience make great memories and photos, but he developed a great love and appreciation for how food is grown and how to care for plants while spending time with nature. He also was far more willing to taste new foods that he grew.
We are in great need of change, it is time we all take a piece of history back and what better place to start than in our own back yards.
Lisa’s Landscape & Design ( “like” me on facebook!)
“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”
- Posted in: Central Texas Gardens ♦ Eco Friendly ♦ Edible Gardens ♦ Education ♦ Gardening ♦ Landscape and Design ♦ Water Wise ♦ Xeriscape design austin
- Tagged: Austin Texas, Avery Ranch, Central Texas, edible landscapes, landscape designer austin, no lawns, sustainable gardens, sustainable landscape installation, xeriscape installation