I have a small lawn care and gardening service in the Portland OR area. I prefer to use non-chemical care in both my customer's garden beds and their lawns. I have reverted to the "typical" old lawn care regimen, as it has been easier to do, however, I feel like I could be ready to make a change for the upcoming Spring season.
I am glad to have found this forum.
Is there anyone who has experience using a more natural, organic routine in a small business format?
Karla - I'm afraid I don't quite know what I you mean when you say "typical" lawn maintenance and gardening? Do you mean mowing laws? weed whacking? weeding and mulching paths? Trimming hedges? Please do elaborate and welcome to permies
Landon Sunrich wrote:Karla - I'm afraid I don't quite know what I you mean when you say "typical" lawn maintenance and gardening? Do you mean mowing laws? weed whacking? weeding and mulching paths? Trimming hedges? Please do elaborate and welcome to permies
Edit: * Mowing lawns
I meant that I do not focus completely on organics. I have reverted back to following a mainstream routine that for lawns includes regular fertilizing, chemical weed control, using iron etc...one that is not necessarily good or great for the soil.
My aim is to get back to using more organics in fertilizing, weed control, mowing practice, aerating, composting lawn, etc.
I don't know of many that do organic lawn care, and I know that it might be more $$, but would also be a great niche market. One that I am hoping that people would pay more for to keep their home environment more healthy.
Have you read Paul's article about organic lawn care? Probably you have,but if you haven't it might be helpful, and if you have it might be good to share with doubting clients.
I wish there was a service like you describe here. My mother's new husband is a sweet kind man who seems to believe that the thick greenness of a lawn is related to the manliness of the homeowner, and he thinks the way to a thick green lawn is chemicals. Sadly, their new house just doesn't have thick topsoil. The lawn care folks he hired sprayed fertilizer and put in sprinklers but it's not what he wants it to be still. (Meanwhile no-one has ever sprayed our lawn or watered it and it's lush and green most everywhere all year. My husband must be such a hunk!)
I think you are right, people would pay for safe and effective organic lawn care and your overhead might be lower if you don't have to pay for chemicals.
I think you're on the right track towards a good business move. I feel the key is in proper diagnostics of the problems and appropriate applications of the solutions.
For instance: There is a product on the Market called Pyganic, it is allowed for use under USDA "Certified Organic" it is a pesticide made from Chrysanthemum. While it is probably harmful spray this NATURAL POISON along row after row of Kale to combat a flea beetle infestation, used here and there in target area's of a lawn at targeted insects effecting target plants would probably be a step up from using the Dow Chemical equivalent.
If you really wanted to get all permie with it you could grown your own patches of Chrysanthemum on your own and others managed lawns and whip up a batch of you're own.
Same applies for organic soil amendments like compost. Plenty of info out there, and people to help point you too it. Layering Compost over grass clippings in areas that are having a hard time hacking it for whatever reason might be a good idea, it will certainly help if you have a baked compacted micro spot where the grass doesn't come in well at all.