Sunday, January 15, 2012

JOT #24: The lawn

Here in the US, I've lived a life where water is so abundant it's almost unbelievable: flowing freely from faucets, cascading from waterfalls, spurting from fountains, overflowing in swimming pools. It makes rainbows in the noon sun as it twirls from sprinklers.

In the meantime, there are droughts in Africa. Surely we can concede that watering our lawns is a waste of water when there are people without enough to drink? Here are some ways to help:

  • If you must water your lawn, do it in the wee hours of the morning or late at night to prevent evaporation.
  • Use cycles of deep watering - water 3-5 minutes, let it sit five minutes, and repeat up to two more times.
  • Cut down the number of times a week your lawn is watered. It's okay if it's not the perfect shade of green!
  • Stop fertilizing - chemical fertilizers take water to make, not to mention substances that can go into our drinking water.
  • Mulch instead. When leaves fall, spread them over your lawn and around your trees - they can help prevent evaporation and provide nutrients to the soil.
  • Check your sprinklers to make sure they're not going off onto the sidewalk or patio or spurting out water unnecessarily.
  • Try a drip irrigation system for your plants - a slow drip of water.
  • Consider converting a part or all of your lawn to native drought-resistant plants. Your city may even give you money for doing this!
  • Or pave it over, using permeable pavement and pavers so that the rainwater goes through and doesn't run off.
  • Plant a vegetable garden on your lawn (see earlier JOT) - that's so much less lawn to water!
  • Take your extra sink and shower water to the lawn and garden.

Let's make sure the grass is greener, and cleaner on every side of the fence.

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