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Get Rid of Your Lawn & Do This Instead

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Feed Your Family From Your Own Front Yard

Not only are lawns thirsty and time-consuming if you want to keep them looking great, but they are also an awful waste of space – especially if you have no other place to garden!

Why not convert part of your lawn into a sustainable food-producing space instead?

This article shares some helpful tips for getting started, and making the most of the space you have to produce as much of your own food as possible:

There she is, needy, lush and green. Each weekend demanding that you pay attention to her, lest she grow wild. For those of you in drier areas, perhaps the city has limited water and she just lies there now dry, brittle and useless. Either way our lawns control us. Saturdays that could be spent harvesting berries and fresh greens are instead consumed in the toil of pushing a machine. Unless you are an avid yogi, baseball player or picnicker, lawns are a bit passé. And yet, we as a nation spend over $26 billion per year on lawns. How might we redesign our spaces to create edible abundance?

Not only are our lawns expensive and time consuming, they also are insatiably thirsty. According to the Los Angeles Municipal Water District, the average lawn requires the equivalent of 84 inches of rain per year. For much of the nation, that exceeds what nature brings.

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If you are ready to transform your lawn and your outdoor living space, read on.

Step 1: Lawn Removal

The first step is to properly remove the unwanted lawn. Many permaculturalists claim that one can simply lay cardboard and mulch on top of an existing lawn and that this will eventually smother it. However, in my experience installing over fifty gardens, it is best to be thorough when breaking with a stubborn lawn.

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Step 2: Earth Works and Cardboarding

If your lawn happens to be on any sort of slope, now is your opportunity to create on-contour “swales” that will catch and hold rain long enough for the to be edibles to soak up.

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Step 3: Planting Your Food Forest

What is a food forest?  There are several ways in which a food forest differs from a conventional orchard. A food forest involves a diversity of crops. If your goal is to have a large, uniform apple harvest for example, then one type would suffice.

However, if your goal is to have home grown apples for as much of the season as possible, the harvest can be extended by planting several varieties, each with their own harvest time. A food forest has multiple layers which are able to coexist.

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Step 4: Irrigate and Mulch

After planting, run drip irrigation throughout the planting.  Drip irrigation saves water as it targets direct to each plant. Finally, mulch with wood chips 4 inches on top and around the entire area that was recently a lawn. Be sure to not pile mulch up around the trunk of each tree.

This design approach works whether you live in Alpine, Mediterranean, Desert or Tropics. Choose plants that work in your bioregion and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Read the full article at Mother Earth News…

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