Wednesday is Earth Day (although with the rapid acceleration of issues and problems around the globe, I could argue that every day should be Earth Day!) And yet what happened on the first lovely weekend of spring in my neighborhood? The gas guzzling, polluting power equipment came out in droves in my neighborhood. I could barely hear myself think because of the noise from leaf blowers, lawn mowers and even lawn tractors.
Now, I have to ask myself, what on earth were those folks thinking?! The grass isn’t even green yet. There’s nary a crocus in sight and the only daffodils blooming are against warm southern exposures–in microclimates, in other words.
So there’s nothing to mow! And if they were using that gas guzzling power equipment to pick up lawn debris, might I suggest a radical idea? Use your two hands to collect any large branches and then pick up an old-fashioned rake and rake up the small stuff.
You’d be surprised about the benefits of raking. It can be aerobic if you do it correctly and long enough. It can also be pleasant. Without the noise and the gas fumes from your blowers in your face, you can hear all sorts of things–bird song, for example. It might actually make you enjoy something that you once thought of as a chore.
And it has benefits for the lawn. It can lightly de-thach and remove things like snow mold (which we all have lots of after this winter!)
Then, if you are top-dressing with compost (a great idea) or lightly sowing new seed, it will make better contact with the soil. All that mowing (particularly with tractors!) and blowing just keeps the soil compacted.
Even if you are (perish the thought!) putting down one of those chemical fertilizers, it will now remain in place better until a rain washes it in, because it will actually have some soil to make contact with–not that same hard-packed stuff to roll off of.
So this spring, be a garden renegade–pick up a rake, get outside and get a little exercise and fresh air. It won’t kill you!