Monday, January 25, 2010

Greener lawns cleaner waters.

Remember the workshop I was planning to attend last Saturday, Ways of Whales,  sponsered by the Orca Network?  Well my friend Victoria was able to attend and she kindly brought me back a folder of information from the seminar.

I've been going throught the information and learning so much.  Today I wanted to share with you some information I found on a handout regarding having a whale friendly lawn. 

You might ask, "What on earth does my lawn have to do with whales?".

Well when you think about it it does make perfect sense. Living here in the Puget Sound area, we get quite a bit of rain throughout the year.  The runoff from our yards makes it's way into the water table and down storm drains, creeks, streams and rivers eventually winding up in the Sound. If we're using harmful chemicals on our lawns and gardens, then these same chemicals will eventually make their way into the Puget Sound too. On the way they may also be polluting the many creeks and streams that are spawning beds for our wild salmon and steelhead.

So what can we do to keep our lawns green while keeping our local marine life healthy?  Well here are some of the suggestions from the American Cetacean Society Puget Sound Chapter :
  1. Avoid using 'weed & feed' or other herbicide/pesticides.  Instead use an organic slow release fertilizer and fertilize in the spring and fall.  Better for you, your family, your marine mammal friends. 
  2. Avoid deadly chemicals like Diazinon at all costs!
  3. Mow high, mow often and leave your grass clippings on the lawn (mulching mowers are great for this).  Mulched grass clippings left on the lawn may provide up to 25% os your lawns nutrient needs!  Higher lawns hold more moisture, need less watering and create less run off.  Plus the higher grass will be less likely to sprout weeds because the grass creates less light for seeds to germinate on the soil surface.
  4. Aerate your lawn to help water penetrate to the roots where they can absorb the moisture and water less often but more deeply for a healthier lawn.
I've been chemical free in my yard and garden for a long time now and have no complaints.  My garden grows great, my lawn is lush and I feel good knowing I'm not putting harmful chemicals in my yard. 

I even joined up with another promoter of chemical free yards, the Washington Toxics Coalition and proudly dislay my Pesticide Free Zone sign in my yard!

Ok, so maybe your reading this blog from somewhere other than Western Washington and maybe whales aren't your backyard neighbors.  But the same principals apply to your eco system pollution from you yard is going somewhere and chances are it will disturb the delicate system of life around you. 

I hope you will consider going chemical free.  We've become so conditioned to use these chemicals on our yards that many times we don't even give it a second thought.  Or maybe you think that you can't have a green yard or good garden without them.  I'm living proof that you really can.  My garden is 100% chemical free and as you saw in my photo, I'm growing great veggies!  I use compost, worm castings and manure to ammend my soil.  It works!

Ok, so I'm off to watch a Video called Cry of The Bubble Warriors: The Story of the Alska Humpback and learn more about whales. 

Have a great green day!

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