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Blog/Opinion: Edible Garden or Lawn?

By HHI Staff

According to Rosalind Creasy - award-winning author of Edible Landscaping - gardens producing fresh, healthy food can replace lawns that are often wasteful and expensive. For example, in her book, she reports in "The Real Cost of Lawns" -


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A lawn area, when grown organically, can be wonderful for frolicking children, but those large, "well maintained" areas of verdure generally are the landscaping equivalents of gas guzzlers parked in the driveway. Mowers, blowers, fertilizer and pesticide runoff, habitat loss—today's lawns are primarily about wasting non-renewable resources and contributing to many of our planet's ills. Consider the following:

  • According to NASA, in the United States lawns cover almost 32 million acres—an area the size of New England.
  • Americans spend $17.4 billion a year on everything from pesticides (70 million pounds) to lawn tractors.
  • Lawn mowing uses 300 million gallons of gas and takes about 1 billion hours annually.
  • estimates that Americans spend $5.25 billion on petroleum-based lawn fertilizers and $700 million on lawn pesticides—annually.
  • According to the EPA, running the average gas-powered lawn mower for 1 hour can create the same amount of pollution as driving a car 340 miles!
  • Nationwide, home landscape irrigation accounts for nearly one-third of all residential water use—more than 7 billion gallons per day. Lawns drink up over 50 percent of that.
  • Lawns require one inch of water a week; at that rate, using irrigation only, a 25-by 40-foot (1,000-square-foot) lawn can suck up about 625 gallons of water weekly, or approximately 10,000 gallons of water each summer.

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Edible Garden or Lawn?:  Created on August 6th, 2013.  Last Modified on August 6th, 2013


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