Grow food, not lawns. Mostly.

Our little lawn seedlings on the Summer Solstice eve! 

Our little lawn seedlings on the Summer Solstice eve! 

The Man of the Place and I have always been emphatically anti-lawn. We’ve been dyed-in-the-wool members of the Food Not Lawns community for years. I count among my most favorite hours spent in the past eight years in building up my garden to contain a biodiverse group of plants that support our ecosystem and our bellies! When finding out that we were moving to Three Dog Farm, scads of neighbors and friends said, “But what about your garden?!”

So imagine our surprise when, after a year of looking, we found the house with the land, price point, and character we desired but it came with a lot of lawn in the side yard. Then that undesired lawn got ripped up before the closing so a new septic field could be installed and we thought “yes, this is great! We’ll just sow a field of wildflowers like we did at the last house.” But then we got thinking about the two, soon to be three, dogs who will use this area as their exercise and training field. Of the myriad of options to keep their area from being a giant mud pit we begrudgingly acquiesced to the dreaded lawn. 

When I came home today The Man of the Place had the sprinkler running on the grass seed, which is beginning to sprout like so many tiny feathers poking out of the ground. Once the seed is well established I pinky-promise we won’t use scads of synthetic chemicals on it, which would end up in our drinking water. And during drought we will conserve water by letting our mini-field go dormant and trust that the fall rains will revive its color. Maybe in time some local weeds will fill in the empty spots where the seed didn’t sprout; heck, as long as its green and the dogs can romp we’ll call it a win.

I do have to admit, on this sultry eve of the Summer Solstice, that the “chk-chk-chk” of the sprinkler reminds me of pleasant summer days back when I was a kid. I grew up in Chicagoland in a subdivision built on the prairie and oak savanna, back then the metronomic whirring of our neighborhood sprinklers signaled lazy hours spent up in my favorite maple tree, lying on my bed reading or setting marshmallows on fire (on purpose!) after a cookout. Time will tell what memories will become embedded next to the sound of our sprinkler here at Three Dog Farm, I’m looking forward to the memory.

Gita Brown