Friday, May 27, 2022

How to Have the Best Grass

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain

Grass that I can't get rid of to save my life (and I've tried really hard).

Let's be real, very few people in our society will even entertain the thought of getting rid of grass at their home.  There are even some really good reasons out there to have grass such as kids, pets, taking care of grass just brings you pure joy, etc.  All of which are excellent reasons to have grass at your home.  Plus it's your home, your property, it's yours to do what you want with.  Despite what you might think, I really don't care what anyone does with their own home or property as long as it doesn't adversely affect me or anyone else.

It is important to realize though that if you put a bunch of fertilizers and weed killer on your grass that does have a negative impact on your community and the world as those products don't simply stay on your property.  They destroy your soil health, which again is your property and you can do what you want with.  However those products then leach out into the storm drains, surrounding properties, rivers, oceans, etc. and start causing a lot of harm close to and far away from your property.  It's important to realize this and the affects that your actions have on others.  It's really a shame that it does affect others though and not just yourself because if these personal choices and actions only affected yourself then perhaps the Supreme Court would then take it upon themselves to draft opinions that nobody should grow grass or use fertilizers or weed killers since they seem to want to restrict the rights of others and their personal choices as much as humanly possible even though those choices don't affect anyone else.  But alas, the choices we're talking about here do actually negatively affect others so naturally, the laws and regulations around them will (unfortunately) only get looser so as many people as humanly possible in our society and the world can be harmed (over and over and over).

So how can you grow grass in a sustainable way that does not negatively impact others while also building your soil health which will result in the best and greenest grass that your eyes have ever laid sight upon?

It's actually quite easy, in the recent past I've secretly taken a lot of joy in teasing friends and family about how I don't want grass but I can't seem to kill it and the small amounts of grass I have is so healthy, green and luscious.  Meanwhile their grass is patchy, dry, brown and really struggling despite their best efforts to manicure it.  It turns out that to get the best grass ever you really just need to take the same basic principles that we've gone over in this blog about growing vegetables and apply them to growing grass!
  • Compost - Instead of throwing your food scraps out, compost them and get those food scraps working for you to help build your soil health!  The majority of people throw food scraps in the trash then go buy very expensive compost for their grass or garden.  What if you could just make those food scraps work for you and turn them into compost which would then save you money?  You can do just that and you would also get the benefit of producing less trash and helping the environment, it's a win-win all the way around!  Once you've made your compost just sprinkle it liberally on your grass as much as you can.  Your grass needs food and this compost is the food, so feed your grass so it can be big, healthy and strong!
  • No Fertilizers or Weed Killers (Absolutely None) - Now that you are composting and spreading the compost around on your grass you don't need to use any chemical fertilizers anymore, which will once again save you money while being better for you and those around you.  Chemical fertilizers quickly release nutrients into the ground in concentrated amounts and basically kill everything else that is living in the soil which is why once you start using chemical fertilizers it is very hard to get away from them since once you stop using them your soil is basically dead and it is going to take around 7 years to fully build the soil health up again.  This exact reason is why it is ssssooo very hard for conventional farmers to get away from conventional farming, even if they want to, which a lot of them really want to.  They're locked into it and a drastic switch would mean 2 or 3 years without any income, which isn't feasible when that is your sole job and how you provide for your family.  Once you start making your own compost go cold turkey on both the chemical fertilizers and the weed killer.  Healthy soil is key to good grass and you can't have healthy soil if you're using fertilizers and weed killers.  To make pulling weeds easy just use a nifty stand-up weeding tool that may make pulling weeds... dare I say... fun and easy?!  It could even be a type of meditation!
  • Stop Cutting it So Often - Grasses are very interesting organisms, as are all plants.  In general, grass roots are actually the exact same length as the actual grass that's above ground.  If you have a blade of grass that is 2 inches long, it's root is also 2 inches long.  If you cut that same blade down to 1/4 inch, the root also cuts itself off at 1/4 inch.  So what happens to the rest of the 1 and 3/4 inches of root?  Since it's no longer part of the blade of grass and it's already in the soil it just decomposes and becomes part of the soil and helps to feed the soil which will lead to improved soil and thus better grass.  If you constantly cut your grass each week to keep it at 1/4 inch long you are preventing that natural process from happening and you won't ever get a good root structure nor good soil.  Whereas if you let the grass get a few inches long before cutting it, you are now contributing to soil health!  This same principle is why rotational grazing of livestock actually contributes to a healthy environment and soil whereas if the livestock are constantly on the same patch of land it gets overgrazed, the soil health tanks and everything suffers.  Let the grass grow!
  • Grow Only What You Need - Does all of your grass currently get utilized?  If not, maybe you only need half or a quarter of what you currently have.  Grow only what you need, which is the exact same principle as when you grow vegetables.  If you don't use it then why grow it?  Cut the amount of grass you're growing down to what will actually get used regularly then turn the rest into flowers or shrubs or a play area or a super awesome zen rock garden, or anything else you want that will actually cause that space to be utilized!
  • Water - This one is obvious but your grass does need water to grow.  The cool thing about soil health is that as your soil gets healthier it transforms from acting like a slab of concrete that water rushes right off of and turns into a sponge that actually retains water.  It will take around 7 years for your soil health to significantly build but as it does you'll slowly notice that each year you need to water the grass less and less.  This is because your soil is becoming more sponge like each year and the soil is naturally retaining more water so you need to water it less.
  • Give it Time for the Soil to Build - It takes time to build good soil and unfortunately there is no way around that.  From when you stop using chemical fertilizers / weed killer and start using compost it is going to take around 7 years for the soil to fully build.  The first two years will be the rockiest because everything in your soil is basically dead so your grass doesn't have any food aside from the compost you're giving it.  In short, it is going to get worse before it gets better.  As the soil health builds though your soil becomes more diverse, there's more food and microbes in it for your grass to eat which in the end will contribute the most to the long term health of your grass.
There you have it, that is how you can grow the best grass you have ever seen in a sustainable manner that doesn't negatively affect anyone while building up your soil health which actually has a positive impact on your property, community and the world as a whole!

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