For the past two Springs I have faced a challenge that has me torn between ethics and image. You see, two years ago my husband and I stopped using synthetic fertilizers on our yard. Now, let me make myself clear. We are not gardeners by inclination. We love nature and enjoy being in it but when it comes to working in the yard and garden other things usually take a higher priority.
So, why did we care about yard chemicals if we're not gardeners? I blame knowledge. After reading and researching different environmental issues, I came across information about the harm of yard chemicals on the environment, specifically on water quality. After hearing these facts from many sources over the course of many months, I finally couldn't ignore it anymore. So began our adventure in organic lawn care.
For the most part, I am a minimalist when it comes to lawn care. I fertilize the yard twice a year with organic fertilizer and spray organic weed controls on our weeds. The most ambitious I got was when we had a mole that took up residence in our yard. I sought an organic solution to the pest situation and ended up applying beneficial nematodes (microscopic beneficial organisms) to our lawn which worked, I think. But I also found out that there are benefits to moles. They don't damage your grass as many people think. They do aerate your soil and consume an overabundance of insects that are living there. In effect, they put things back in balance. So, in return for the all-you-can-eat insect buffet you get more oxygen in your soil and the bug population is kept in check! Not a bad deal after all.
So what's the challenge? Here it is-weeds. There, I said it. We have weeds in our lawns. Actually, we have quite a few; more than I care to admit. The problem is that weeds tend to grow earlier in the spring season than does grass. So, until the grass grows in and greens up, my yard appears to be all weeds. I know that if I wanted to eradicate the weeds I could try some other organic methods. Or I could use (gasp) synthetic weed controls. But at this point, I'm too lazy/busy to take on anymore than I already have and I don't want to go back to the synthetic way. So, Spring has become an exercise in patience for me as well as a lesson in humility. The last two springs, I have at times been tempted to napalm the yard and spray paint the remaining dirt green. But, I didn't. My husband talked me down and reminded me that the grass would grow in soon and to just wait.
And he was right. Once the grass came in the weeds mostly died out and the shame of having a weedy yard was forgotten. I guess it's another reminder that God works on His own timetable and not mine and that there is beauty in imperfection. After all, since we've gone organic our yard has been visited by all sorts of creatures (Yes, that's a good thing.) We've had more birds in our yard of different types than we used to. My sons have found toads, snakes and geckos. Our yard is filled with life; with creatures great and small. It's nice to feel a part of that life.