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Dieter Hatfield
Post     Subject: Re: Can anything compete with Lawn?


The basic rotation in any organic no-till regime consists of alternating grass/grains with legumes.  In other words, you grow legumes in grass or grains and you grow grains after legumes.  You can also grow both together.  For example, clover may replace grass after several seasons depending on how and when you cut.  Some beans will grow well in grass if you broadcast the beans into the grass and then cover with sufficient mulch to suppress the grass.  Some legumes, especially lupines and broad beans, will even grow in an existing grass sod without mulching.  I usually cut the grass close to the ground about 2 weeks after sowing just before the seeds germinate.  I have had good results this way with both broad beans and lupines.  I usually use the lupines with yellow flowers, which are not edible, and the larger edible lupines, which have white or slightly bluish flowers.  I also found that a cool season annual like broad beans will grow very well in a warm season annual like crab grass even without mulching.

Potatoes are also useful for turning a lawn into vegetable beds.  But you need sufficient mulching material to suppress the grass, or the potatoes will not grow very well.

The grass will grow again the following season, but it will be less dominant and it will be easier to grow other vegetables with a bit of mulching.


PS: Dried leaves are also very good at suppressing grass.

Paul Cereghino
Post     Subject: Re: Can anything compete with Lawn?

What i mean, is that "lawn" is not a species... it is a vegetation structure (high density, lots of growing tips near ground level) resulting from a management regime ( frequent mowing).  Grass can coexist with lots of species all over the place.  But 'primary production' is limited in any given climate and soil.  So water/sun/nutrients captured by grass is the same not captured by your target community -- unless you have/perceive a purpose for grass, or are simply willing to tolerate it's sharing the bounty with you...
Paul Cereghino
Post     Subject: Re: Can anything compete with Lawn?

Another way I look at it...
When you mow a lawn if favors grass (and other lawn weeds.)  If I don't mow the grass and weeds grow tall.  As they grow big.  THe biggest tallest grasses and weeds compete.  At the end of a growning season you end up with a lower density of plants.  When they die at the end of the season, burried under their bodies are lots of bare ground patches between the individuals that won the last seasons competition for light.  Those bare patches are 'recruitment niches' for the next generation of fall germinating species, that join the competition for next year. 

In a mown plant community, there is very dense regrown (lots of crowns and ramets per square foot), and this makes jumping into the system difficult for seedlings.  If you let the system grow out, there will be windows of opportunity.  Fukuoka talked a lot about timing, and I believe that the effectiveness of his project had to do with understanding the moments in time when there would be a 'recruitment niche' and positioning his seed at teh right place and time to take advantage of that. 

That said, If I were hungry I wouldn't count of feeding myself by planting veges in a lawn.
Leila Rich
Post     Subject: Re: Can anything compete with Lawn?

I scratched my lawn up pretty ferociously with one of those 3-curved-tined tools, chucked sandy sub-soil over it from where I was lowering my garden's height after realising that raised beds are a STUPID idea in my environment...
Broadcast clovers, achillea, dandelion, whatever else I had lying round and scratched it in.
The grass was knocked back long enough for the seed to germinate and grass is a relatively minor-player now.
I find clovers, achillea and dandelion especially able to compete with grass.
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Post     Subject: Re: Can anything compete with Lawn?

Lawn outcompetes almost everything. But not hazelnut bushes! Just put a hazelnut in your lawn and be amazed how fast it grows!

Seriously. There are some honey plant seed mixes for sale. I would buy a bag and throw them in. The one I bought contains phacelia, buckwheat, mustard, safflower, cilantro (coriander), oil radish, flax, cornflower, marigold, black cumin, malva, dill, borage and corn poppy.

You only have to mow a honey plant meadow once or twice a year. Depending on how "orderly" you like your former lawn. Blooms from spring to fall and as you can see most of the plants are edible, too. Not only for the bees.

I myself would first break up the soil and lawn and get the turf out. Maybe even kill all the stuff growing under it with a black blanket 2-3 weeks. Just to improve the survival rate of the new seeds.
Brenda Groth
Post     Subject: Re: Can anything compete with Lawn?

a lot of so called weeds will grow well in a non fertilized non sprayed lawn.

plantain, dandelion, chicory, yarrow, clover, are all growing in the lawnish areas of our property
travis laduke
Post     Subject: Can anything compete with Lawn?

I mean, can you throw seed onto a lawn and eventually something else will take over? Say you had more time than access to sheet mulch material, or no desire to sheet mulch.