Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chem Lawn Season is Here

Last week Thursday was a gorgeous day here at Red Bucket Farm. The biddies and pullets were grazing in the chicken yard, bees were foraging and building comb, laundry was drying on the line in a brisk breeze, and I set out 8 brussels sprout plants and 14 tomato plants from the greenhouse into the raised beds. The whole farm felt happy and good.

Then the chemical lawn truck pulled up in front of my neighbor's house and before I knew it some dude in aviator sunglasses was spraying chemicals all over everything, droplets flying in the breeze and stinking up the vicinity. I dashed outside to beg for some tiny consideration. I pointed out the animals, beehives, crops and laundry as politely as I could considering my desperation. I begged him to keep the spray low to the ground and away from my property. He didn't say a word, but he nodded and moved a few feet away from the property line.

Michael Pollan tells us in his book Second Nature that Americans spend $30 billion each year on lawn chemicals. The trend for large expanses of green lawns began after the Civil War when suburban areas were beginning to develop. The idea was that green lawns would unify a neighborhood. Large expanses of open lawn were a reaction to the privately walled gardens of England. Common folks still had no grass with a few chickens and a vegetable garden, but the wealthy suburbs had grass lawns.

Thanks to corporate marketing, the golf course lawn has now become an American obsession. I cannot imagine why anybody would spend hundreds of dollars every year to pour chemicals on the lawn, which makes the grass grow faster and creates additional mowing. It's self-perpetuating and a ridiculous waste of money and energy, not to mention the damage to the environment.

I've made a few signs to try to protect my urban farm from airborne chemicals. Meanwhile, I'm planning to plant clover in the bare spots of my yard. Clover is good for the bees and adds nitrogen to the soil. Remember sitting in the lawn on hot summer days looking for that lucky four leaf clover? Or picking a bouquet of beautiful yellow dandelions to bring home to mom?

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