If you?re interested in doing that, but at a loss for where to start, you may want to check out Daily Acts? three-day workshop, ?Transform Your Thirsty Lawn,? May 15-17 at the Cavanagh Center.
Daily Acts, a Petaluma nonprofit group dedicated to spreading incremental change through inspired acts of conservation and creation, has partnered up with the city to present this and a series of other workshops on water conservation education. The goal of the workshops is to educate about water conservation and show citizens exactly how to use the precious resource of water more wisely in landscaping.
The ?Transform Your Thirsty Lawn? workshop will use the Cavanagh Center as a demonstration project.
?We?re going to be turning 2,000 square feet of lawn at the Cavanagh Center into an edible garden that uses less water than the lawn,? said Ellen Bichler of Daily Acts. ?We have all kinds of things we?re going to do there. The result is going to be a beautiful landscape that produces food and conserves water.?
Workshop participants will learn how to properly remove lawn and create a sustainable landscape. Topics also include creating low-water landscapes, building healthy soil, using natural soil amendments, sheet mulch, drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting and graywater systems.
?We?re going to be creating an edible landscape that mimics at forest ecology at the Cavanagh Center,? said Trathen Heckman, director of Daily Acts. ?And by that we mean that it will have lots of layers. In a forest, you have the upper and lower trees making up the forest canopy, then the smaller trees and shrubs and a layer of vine on the forest floor. We?re going to be creating that same kind of habitat; more of an ecosystem than a garden, but with fruit trees, berries and other plants that create a habitat for each other.?
The major benefit of this project is that it?s expected the new landscape will reduce the center?s water usage by three-fourths, saving the city money.
?The lawn probably uses 50,000 gallons of water a year or more, costing the city a lot of money to maintain it,? said Heckman. ?Then there?s all the smog created by having to mow it and all the pesticides and fertilizers that have to go into the lawn. The new garden will save water, save money, create food and look beautiful. It?s a win-win across the board.?
The best part about the project is that locals will learn how simple it is to create such a habitat in their own yards.
?Through the workshop, we?re hoping to empower citizens by teaching them simple, innovative practices they can apply to their own gardens,? said Heckman. ?We can have healthy, just communities and rebuild self-reliance. For example, I estimate that I?ve grown 1,000 pounds of food in my own garden last year, saving $1,000 worth of food. It?s possible to create these beautiful landscapes that also provide for our families and community.?
The workshop at the Cavanagh Center will be broken into five different sections, led by various local experts. The workshop is free to Petaluma residents and participants may stay all day or part of it. No gardening experience is necessary. There will also be a drawing for water-conservation devices.
?It?s about getting people engaged and getting more people to turn their water-wasting lawns into food gardens,? said Heckman. ?It?s going to be a really fun weekend, informative and inspirational.?