At the heart of permaculture is maximising available land so that it can be used productively in a sustainable manner. That is why many practitioners of this particular science believe that homeowners should maintain their own vegetable garden, because the land is best used for growing food, instead of something fit only for a lawn.
So instead of wasting precious resources on a lawn for the sake of aesthetics, why not transform your backyard into a vegetable garden to feed the family?
One Green Planet suggests that your end goal should be to utilise every square foot of your lawn into a space to grow vegetables. However, this isn’t going to happen over night.
A case study by Permaculture News Featured James and Mary Kniskern, who converted their lawn into a garden by planting vegetables one at a time. Eventually, the number soon exceeded the amount square feet of grass that was in their garden.
The important thing is that you get started on this by converting an area that you believe you can manage. Whether this means transforming your entire lawn in one go or one section at a time it’s up to you, just as long as you are sure that you can handle the work you will be facing throughout the process.
Transforming your lawn into a garden will entail getting rid of the existing grass that makes up your lawn, which can be a tedious process. However, the work can be made easier by getting a mower, as this will make the process quicker and easier. Screwfix features a variety of lawnmowers that follow industry standards but more important are able to be easily maneuvered around a garden. They vary from sturdy models to lightweight mowers perfect for getting into the small corners of your garden. Some models even come with collectors that automatically convert trimmed grass into mulch, which you can then use as fertiliser or as compost.
Once you’ve mowed the grass, you can then use the sheet mulch technique, which involves covering the land with cardboard, and then covering it with about 4 inches of compost or mulch (you can use the cut grass for this). You will need to wait for one season, or at least until the paper decomposes, to plant when using this technique. However, make sure there are no gaps where sunlight can seep through, as this can encourage the grass to grow once again.
On the other hand, if you do not have the patience to wait for an entire season for the grass to die, what you can do instead is to set up raised beds for your vegetables. RealFarmacy has one suggestion on how to do this efficiently. The process is essentially a modified version of the sheet mulch technique, but on a smaller scale. They implemented it on an isolated part of a lawn (no bigger than four feet), separated from the rest of the land with four boards. The plot was then covered by three cubic yards of manure, and spread evenly. One cubic yard of peat moss was then raked on to the compost before the vegetables were planted. After a month, the blogger was able to harvest his crops.
Dispatch said that the process of converting a lawn into a vegetable garden can take place between 2-3 years. While this might seem long, the effort will be worth it, as you will end up growing your own food and it will save you money in the long run. The important thing is to be patient throughout the process. During this time, take the time to study up on the best vegetables to grow, including how to take care of them and whether or not they should be cycled.