I was walking the dog this morning noticing that the lawn in the park across the street -- where, mind you, no weed and feed is used --is a brighter shade of green than our heavily chemically treated lawn in our townhome complex.  Not to be outdone by the Park Board, this is the year that we are getting our lawn off of those addictive petrochemicals.  Yep, we are detoxing our soil.  We are going organic with fish guts and corn gluten.  You can bet that the neighborhood kids, dogs and the mighty Mississippi will all be healthier for it too. 

This came to be because some individual homeowners called with concerns for kids and pets after the usual scary signs were staked in the lawn last summer, "chemicals sprayed here - stay off the grass for 2 days".   I too, as the association board president (it's a volunteer position because there isn't enough money in the world to compensate you – really!), and as an expert in all things green had wanted to go organic with our lawns for some time.  We suddenly had the political will in our Association.

We had some opposition but it didn't come from the homeowners as I had expected.  It came from our lawn maintenance company worried that we wouldn't like the results of an organic lawn.  Wha?!? Were they afraid that we wouldn't like cancer free kids and pets in 20 years?  Or that too many people would trample, roll and languish in the grassy knolls rather than keep off the grass for fear of getting full of toxic chemicals?!?  I know I'm taking this a bit far, but I think my point is made:  given the choice, we would rather have a safe lawn than a painted green toxic lawn of perfection.

I am hopeful that with the help of our now very agreeable lawn contractor, we can have a pretty AND safe lawn.  Corn gluten meal is a timely part of the formula and the time to apply it is now.  All natural corn gluten (a byproduct of the wet milling process of corn) spread on the grass in the next week or two is a pre-emergent.  It can stop anything that hasn't already germinated like dandelions or crabgrass and can be found at almost any yard or big box store these days.  It may take a few years of application to get similar results of more toxic applications and in the meantime, we may have a few more weeds than usual. But it seems to be a risk that the homeowners, kids and dogs in our hood are willing to take.  The Mississippi River will benefit too.  We are within spitting distance of the river and she along with her menagerie of wildlife should also feel nurtured and protected by our bold green move to organics.

Have you thought about getting your lawn off chemicals?  Believe me, if we can do it in a townhome association, ANYONE can do it.

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