Eco Mama

Episode #5 - Family Safe Lawns without Pesticides

October 25, 2022 Jaime Snell Season 1 Episode 5
Eco Mama
Episode #5 - Family Safe Lawns without Pesticides
Show Notes Transcript

My husband, Dave, wants thick, luscious, green grass without weeds or insects. 

I, as an Eco Mama, refuse to put chemicals anywhere near our home, even on our lawn. 

Today's episode is a conversation between Dave and me about seeking solutions we can both live with.

Does he get his way? Do I get mine? Or do we compromise on a win-win? 

Take a listen to find out.

Ecocratesofamerica.com

Jaime:

Hello Eco Mamas. Welcome back for another episode of the Eco Mama Podcast. I am super excited today to talk to you about a topic that my husband and I sometimes disagree on, it's just because we have different end goals. And this topic, of course, has to do with chemicals and it's on pesticides. I have here with me today my husband Dave, and we're gonna have a little conversation about why we disagree on pesticides. At the end of the day, my husband wants a beautiful green lawn, and as an eco mama, I want no chemicals near my home, on our grass, on our land, in our home, anywhere near us or our family. And to achieve what he wants to accomplish in the grass is a really difficult, difficult thing to do without using chemicals. So before I continue to ramble on, I'm gonna introduce Dave.

Dave:

So hello everyone. I'm Dave, I'm Jamie's husband.

Jaime:

Welcome Dave.

Dave:

Thank you.

Jaime:

My husband is super supportive in all that I do. He's not someone that will go out of his way to find the safest ingredients or the safest products. However, he trusts my judgment. He trusts my perspective, my opinion, and he kind of just lets me roll with it. When it comes to our lawn care, though, we live on half acre, Is that right? Yeah. But yeah, but half acre, But I would say only half of that has grass. The other half is kind of very natural in the back. So a quarter of an acre really we're looking to manage.

Dave:

Right.

Jaime:

Neither of us are into, we'll, we'll mow the lawn, we'll pull some weeds, we'll plant some flowers. But we're not super guru lawn care people.

Dave:

No, we, we don't expect to have a, you know, a lawn, a golf course as a lawn.

Jaime:

I don't know. Some days I think you do

Dave:

Well.

Jaime:

He sees that artificial turf. He's like, Oh, if only this were real. Right. So, Dave, explain to them like what you want, what you wish you had in a yard.

Dave:

Just consistency within the the grass itself. Right now we got, it looks like we got variations of different types of grass in the front we got probably what we call a poor man's fescue, which is kinda like that light green rye looking fess. And I wouldn't mind it if it was consistent throughout the whole lawn, but when you got that and you got patches of I don't know if it's a we or what, but it might have a little bit of a zosia, a little bit of Bermuda in certain aspects. But that's my biggest point. So when Jamie mentioned, you know, obviously, you know, doesn't want anything chemical based in our lawn. Do I compromise a little bit, probably. Maybe I'm a little impatient. I just want that long looking, you know, just, yeah, just consistent, you know?

Jaime:

Right. So are there, their weeds are in the grass, right?

Dave:

Right.

Jaime:

So there's there's a weed that's in there that's very invasive, the penny wart. Penny wart is in our grass and it's very invasive and it grows fast and it's kind of a trailing weed. And it's difficult to pick my hand, right?

Dave:

Cuz it's, think about a little, looks like a little small lily pad, right? Very small. And so it's very flat to the ground. It's, it's invasive. It's when it's there, there's no other grass around it.

Jaime:

Correct. It kind of kills the, the roots of the grass around it. So keeping that penny word under control without using a pesticide is a bit difficult.

Dave:

Right.

Jaime:

And then there, so there's the pesticides, which kills the weeds, and then there's the herbicides, or is that, I got it backwards. So sorry. The herbicides kill the weeds. Mm-hmm. and the pesticides kill the invasive creatures,

Dave:

Right.

Jaime:

And insects that could get in the air and eat the grass or run under the yard and kill the roots of the grass. And so those kind of things would be, we have moles.

Dave:

Yeah.

Jaime:

And that's why I got cats last year and we do still have one cat and he's not as active as he used to be with the moles. But I don't, maybe there's not as many out right now cause the weather is changing

Dave:

You know, I thought so, but, going back along a couple days ago, I still felt that it's,

Jaime:

Still soft?

Dave:

It's still, Yeah, if you have moles,

Jaime:

Is it moles or voles? I think it's moles. Moles. Okay. So moles, they dig tunnels under your grass and they basically like push. Push the grass up. They cut uprooted a little bit,

Dave:

Right. Well, they eat the they eat the grubs that are,

Jaime:

so that's one of the insects. So the moles are there because of the grubs, which is one of the insects that the pesticides would bill if I let him use them. But I'm very particular about having that in there because we do have pets. We have, we have three children as, as you may have heard from a previous podcast. And we have one cat and one dog, and they free roam on our yard. My concern with having any kind of chemicals on there is that, I don't know, the, to me, the purpose of having a, a beautiful, expansive sound of music grass is so that you can enjoy it physically. Or is it only? David, do you want that grass because you wanna roll in it and feel good, or you just want something pretty to look at? Do you wanna actually be able to go in the grass?

Dave:

No, I, I kind of a combination of both, you know. Yeah, that's

Jaime:

So you want it safe to go in, but you want it to look good?

Dave:

Right. Okay. But what was your model before is if if you drop a sandwich,

Jaime:

Oh yeah. Drop a sandwich in the grass. I wanna be able to pick it up and eat it. I wanna be able to walk barefoot. Our, our feeder, like the souls to our organs. Right. So if you walk on pesticides, all you're doing is just inviting chemicals straight into your body. You're walking barefoot, I'm a Florida girl. I am barefoot all the time. I am barefoot when it's like 50, 40 degrees outside, not in the snow, but I'll walk the dog barefoot when it's 40 outside and my neighbors will like chastise me, put some shoes on girl, and I'm like, I'm a Florida girl. I'm just used to being barefoot and I will take calluses over blisters any day. But that's besides the point. I wanna be barefoot in the grass. I wanna sit outside. I want the kids to be able to practice their gymnastics in the grass in the. and if it's sprayed with chemicals, I don't trust that. Even if they say, Oh, once it dries it's safe. I don't, It's just, It's not in the cards for me.

Dave:

Right. You know, and I know when I talk to the lone guy, you know, Is this safe? Well, I would just make sure your pets are inside for 30 minutes or now or so. I mean that, you know? Yeah. But once it rains or their sprinklers go off, it gets wet again. And how much is it reactivating by that moisture? I just don't know enough about it. I will tell you some of the research that I've done glysophates is one of the most common ingredient, in lawn care services used by lawn care, master lawn care services, and even in the do it yourself stuff that you can get from your local hardware store, Home Depot or Lowe's. And the glysophates are what is known for causing issues with humans. It's not safe for humans. It's meant to kill whatever it comes in contact with. What happens is it the toxins if when we come in contact, whether we breathe it or touch, it gets into our systems and the most acceptable are newborn babies and children. And that's where they're finding increased cases of cancer, leading directly back to glysophates in children. So, I mean, that's just one example of why I don't want it there. But we have young kids and they're getting older now, but they're still developing. And especially when puberty hits. I mean, that's when hormones are going wild.

Jaime:

Newborns and puberty is like the most susceptible because their bodies are changing so much and you don't want any disruptors or other harmful toxins to mislead the body into developing the way it should because when you have too many toxins in your body, or endocrine disruptors, your body can overproduce and under produce, critical hormones to develop properly mentally and physically. So I just, just don't want anybody exposed to that. Our animals, our animals walk outside barefoot and they'll come back in the house. I'm not gonna wipe my dog's feet every time. I mean, gosh, we're probably overdue for the dog's bath, to be honest with you. It's been a couple weeks, few weeks I should say. It's just not a maintenance thing that is my forte. So having something safe out there. Now that being said, we've been in this house for five years. Five years, and how did the grass look when we moved here?

Dave:

It was nice actually. Yeah.

Jaime:

Yeah, it was nice. Now the people that we bought from I believe the husband was a master gardener, so

Dave:

Oh. From what we heard from our neighbors, he was, he was out 12 hours a day.

Jaime:

Yeah. They called our backyard the springtime of,

Dave:

of the masters.

Jaime:

The masters because it was just so beautiful the way everything bloomed and I'm sad to say I've kind of put that to shame. When we moved in, I told my husband he was in charge of the grass, But I had to approve of anything you put on it and that I would take care of all of the beds where the flowers and the gardens and things were. And they are so overgrown with weeds. And that just has to do with the fact that we're busy people and because of my no chemical lifestyle, it's gotten a little more natural than we would prefer.

Dave:

Right.

Jaime:

So if you could have it your way, David, how would.

Dave:

As far as the, the lawn care?

Jaime:

Yeah.

Dave:

Yeah. Yeah, I, I would love natural, you know, natural lawn care, no chemicals. Maybe complete nice green fescue. Now it's tough in South Carolina because we're probably at the, the sub most port that you really could have fess any below us. It's, it's just not gonna. Out of all the types of grass, that's what I would love. You know, it's just uniform, but it's, it, I get admit, it's been tough finding a lawn care that does completely don't use chemicals.

Jaime:

Yeah. In order to eradicate those weeds, it's very difficult because, you know, some do it yourself solutions. We'll say, okay, to kill weeds, use a vinegar mixture with a mild dish soap. But vinegar also kills grass. So you don't wanna use that on the weeds that are mixed in with the grass. And then the other solution is to just use dish soap, which I haven't tried that yet, but they say the dish soap will kill weeds, but not grass. A mild dish soap or a Castile soap. I've read that. Okay. Have you read anything like the natural solutions?

Dave:

That part, but that's something we can, you know, maybe just take a, maybe a little area that we really don't care about too much.

Jaime:

Now what about resodding?

Dave:

Well, the problem if you resodding, I mean, think about what we have. We have a front lawn that is connected the side, and then is also connected to the back. If it wasn't the case, if it was the, the front of the lawn was completely separate mm-hmm. then yes, I would completely think about reso. You know, well, what if we did it in phases? And then I think the reason he doesn't wanna do it all at once is because it would be very expensive. Even though I say it's only a quarter of an. It is still a lot of grass and it might be more than quarter an acre. It's over seven significant thousand square feet,

Jaime:

7,000 square feet and resorting. That would would be a pretty penny. We have other, if we had that kind of cash flow to play with, I think I'd rather do some in-house repair and maintenance to keep the house up to date as opposed to the yard.

Dave:

Right. I agree.

Jaime:

So some other tips that I had listened to in preparation for today's podcast, though with lawn care, other ways to help keep the grass. So something I wanted to share with you, David, that I had read, and it's not something that to my knowledge, we have never tried before. And I'd like to propose it and then we can do a follow up and see, share with the audience how it works. Cuz I, you know, I still don't wanna use chemicals. I think he's in a place where he respects why I don't want to use them. However, we don't wanna give up on this grass solution. How to get the best grass without using chemicals and we can't afford to. So one of the things that I had read for a suggestion was using epsom salts as a fertilizer in the yard. So this one particular article I had come across with Archer Services that epsom salt enriches your soil to help grow a greener grass. I'm just gonna read this: epsom salt is not just a good fertilizer for flowers or vegetables. If you want your front yard turf to look lush and stay healthy all year long, spray along with an Epson salt solution once a month. This treatment helps grass seeds germinate and develop into strong blades. The treatment ensures that the turf keeps its roots strong and healthy, despite weather changes, mowing stress, or even physical damage. So I, I wanna find out the solution for the Epson salt. Mm-hmm. like what you mix it with. In addition, I also read that you're supposed to replace your lawnmower blades often.

Dave:

Hmm.

Jaime:

I never knew that. Yeah. So I grew up apartment, living apartment to apartment to apartment. The first house that I ever lived in as an adult that was owned was when David and I bought our first house like seven years ago. So I never had to deal with lawn maintenance. And I think David is kind of the same as fam, but his family always lived in homes, but I think they had lawn services, didn't you?

Dave:

No, no. When I grew up, No, when I grew up we, I did a lawn pretty much. But you did the, How did, how did it stay? How did it stay green? Well, don't forget, we, we lived in the north, so I'm from upstate New York and. I don't think you get many weeds as out there as you do down here.

Jaime:

So less weeds?

Dave:

Less weeds. It's pretty much, I think up there mostly fescue. You don't have zoysia, right?

Jaime:

Mm-hmm.

Dave:

You didn't have Bermuda. There's a couple other different types of grass that you have down here that you don't have up there, right? And but also one thing is, is to also use a bag. Now dumb me. When our last house we had backyard that was filled, that was mostly a, what would you call that? Like more like a foresty type thing?

Jaime:

Well, it was, it was all natural, right? There was no real grass. It would have like little seeds of grass pop up here and there, but

Dave:

Right. And to bag it, you know, was mostly bagging leaves instead of the grass itself. So I thought, you know what, I'm, I'm not using one of the bags, so I just got rid of it. I totally regret it coming up here because what we're doing, we, the lawn, especially when you mow all and you go over weeds, is that you are spreading

Jaime:

Exactly. So you're not only chopping the weeds, but then you're just redistributing the weeds and the seeds of the weeds. Right. So something that I've also learned in, in relevance to that is that, Weeds will die in the winter, but if you don't pick the dead pieces of the weeds before they like go back into the ground, they're seating for next year to grow back twice as big, twice as strong, twice as wide.

Dave:

Mm-hmm. So yeah, it's important even though the weeds may die off to get rid of them, otherwise they just come back full force. They make this in your yard beds. They make this screen that you can lay down that's supposed to keep weeds from growing through, and it just doesn't work as well because we've put it down in several areas and we've had weeds just pop right back up the very next season. But I learned from another gardener in our community that doing like four or five layers of paper bags in between your soil and your mulch is the best way to do it. Then raised garden beds for gardening, and that will help minimize the weeds in those areas. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So just a suggestion on those things. We're gonna put this up and salt solution to the test and see if it's any help, but we've gone through just a little, little scenario. So we've been here five years, we've gone through how many companies? I think I'm third, fourth right now.

Jaime:

Third or fourth company. The first one that we had, he was absolutely amazing. He had all the ideas that I did, but he could not figure out how to make it like really work, right? He did not believe in using any chemicals. He believed in hand picking weeds. He came out once or twice a month and literally would go in our yard and pick out weeds, and he was amazing. And you know, we paid for the service. It was a little high end, however. It got to a point after a year of service that he showed up one day with another friend. He looked around, he's like, I don't think I can keep you on account anymore, because it just kept growing back so fast. His ideals are there. He's just gotta find the science behind it to not use the chemicals and still get rid of it because the manual labor required for the yard is ridiculous.

Dave:

Oh yeah.

Jaime:

And I know a lot of people are like, just let it go natural. And they let weeds grow in their yard and that's great. But, you know, I, I do respect my husband with his desire to have a green grass. Of course, I would love this picture. Perfect.

Dave:

Mm-hmm. You know, front yard. Yeah. And, and I have, you know, I have lawn envy because our next door neighbor, and they have, you know, their front lawn is, there's really no. And they have FES and it's growing really thick and green. That dark green.

Jaime:

Mm-hmm. And in the back there's some shade and it grows very the same. Yeah. They also use Roundup. They go around the yard and they use Roundup to kill the weeds. Oh yeah. Yeah. They're out there spraying it and I'm like, Kids stay off their yard for a couple days. Because round ups just like, I don't know. I think it was invented by the devil. I mean, if you've ever read any studies about children who grew up large commercial farms.

Dave:

Mm-hmm.

Jaime:

They have skyrocketing cases of childhood cancers, childhood illnesses, debilitating things that prevent them from growing up healthy. And it's because of all of the monsato GMO stuff that's been sprayed on the crops because the wind spreads it to the neighboring yards and farms and homes and in the windows. There's no escaping it because once it's in the air, once those molecules are floating around, they just keep blowing. So if you're in the vicinity of a farm that uses conventional methods

Dave:

mm-hmm.

Jaime:

You're kinda screwed rude. I mean, I've read these articles and these studies and these parents were like, Oh my God, I didn't know. I thought we were living next to a farm and it was nature and it was beautiful, but no, it's horrible.

Dave:

I have a question. The Epson salts. When I think of epsom salts, I think of Epson salts that you put in the bathtub?

Jaime:

Yes. Yes. That is also used for that.

Dave:

Right? So those are more like the big crystals.

Jaime:

Yeah.

Dave:

What you mentioned, what is it a spray? It's an epsom salt solution. Yes, you are correct with epsom salt. That is something that you've seen me take baths before. It's a natural detoxifier. You can also drink EPS salts as a natural laxative cuz it has magnesium in it. However, don't drink too much cause then you, you will not feel good, trust me. But EPS salts in the tub. The trick to using eps salts though is to make sure that you do not have any artificial scents in there. I suggest just getting epson salts with no scents. And then you can add your own essential oils to it just to keep it safe for you. Otherwise, you're just putting toxins back into your body. And the other thing with Epson salts, if you're gonna soak in the tub, don't stay in the tub more than 20 minutes because the Epson salt will help extract impurities from your body. However, after 20 minutes, you're, you're gonna start reabsorbing those. So 20 minutes and out. All right, let's look at the solution. In our neighborhood we have various types of laws or something. When I take my daily walk. And I'm like, Wow, that what a cool lawn that is. I mean, that's just nice and green. And, and I do have this little jealousy, you know, we live in this nice house, nice neighborhood in both sides of our neighbors have really nice lawns. And here it is that I can't get my lawn to look what I wanted to look. And you know, I get frustrated with that, but but I understand where Jaime's coming from. You don't think of it more or less, It's outside. Out of mind is my, probably my mo. And you know, if I, we can't see it. It's out, it's outside, you know, it's not inside where it's. It's more that touchy feely thing where you get, you're coming in contact with toxins. When I'm outside, I don't think about it as much because, you know, it's, it's the nice fresh air

Jaime:

Thanks for seeing where I'm coming from, so I absolutely love that. And you're right. Out of sight, outta mind. I see it. I hear it all the time. I will tell you that 98% of my family could care less about the chemicals in their products or the chemicals in our environment. This is something that was instilled in me from some other place, some other foreign place that brought my attention to it. And so it's not like I was brought up on this. This is something that I was gravitated towards and started learning on my own. So the things that I've shared with David, I was already on this journey before he met me, but since we had kids, it's been 10. And like I said, thankfully he supports me on this journey. He doesn't go out of his way to see what's what, but he does respect my wishes of certain foods for the kids and certain products for the kids, et cetera. All right, so the Epson salt solution for the art, it says here once a month. It says for every hundred square feet of lawn you apply a half a pound of epsom salt. Now, if you don't have a sprinkler system, you want to mix that with water. If you do have a sprinkler system, then you can just sprinkle it on the lawn and let the sprinkler run. For each gallon of water, it's just two tablespoons of salt. So if you were gonna put it in a spray bottle, if you have a small yard, right? Two tablespoons of pure Epson salt. Okay. And one gallon of water. So it's just a big spray bottle. Big spray bottle. Yeah. A small yard. We do have a sprinkler system, so I think what we could do is get the essence salt in one of those, What do you call that thing? You push and seeds for you? The seeder?

Dave:

Seeder.

Jaime:

Oh, seeder. Okay. There you go. So you get the cedar and then you can put again, pure epsom salt in there and seated around the yard once a month before before you run the sprinkler. Yeah.

Dave:

Well, I'm willing to try it.

Jaime:

You know, it's, I mean, there's, there's mixed things on this, but I'd say let's try it. Right? So every hundred square feet, you want a half pound of EPS and salt. We can do the math for that. That's how much we buy. We'll try it. Okay. We'll do it once a month for three or four months. You can't hurt our grass as it is. We have literally, when we started with the very first guy, he came out and killed everything naturally and then seated to bring it. And it worked, but we had a mud pile in our backyard for like six months.

Dave:

Oh yeah.

Jaime:

Do you remember that? There was nothing out back.

Dave:

Well, yeah, that was a combination of you know, with the moles eating the grubs so there's no grass foundation.

Jaime:

Yeah.

Dave:

I remember every time we would take the lawnmower and I'd, you know, do one line and turn it, it was like completely. Making a huge dent of the lawn.

Jaime:

Yeah, I remember it was almost like four-wheeling it with a lawn mower.

Dave:

Right.

Jaime:

Alright, well it sounds like we might have a possible solution. I just wanna share my gratitude towards my husband there.

Dave:

Well, one thing I wanna say is, and, and it is tough because we, we want that immediate gratification when we, when we do something, you know, just like working out. Right? But I forgot what we were, What was that? There was somebody, if you do a little bit, you know, each day. It's like changing like a little habit.

Jaime:

Mm-hmm.

Dave:

But you do that just a little thing and you'll see the rewards tenfold. It could be the same thing where I need, as far as the lawn, you know, I mean, it's gonna take some time and you know, you do if you do maybe the epsom salt or,

Jaime:

and fresh blades.

Dave:

Right.

Jaime:

We've never replaced the blades and we've had the lawnmower seven years we bought it at the, when we bought the first house.

Dave:

Right.

Jaime:

And we've never replaced them or sharpened them or anything.

Dave:

No, I know..

Jaime:

So that's, that's another lesson we're learning, guys. This is life. We're learning how to do things.

Dave:

Yeah. The last house everybody's familiar with the, whatever they call it, the Carolina Reapers? What was that? It's kinda like a,

Jaime:

The thorny things?

Dave:

Yes. Yeah. You know, and here I, we had all over the place and they were, you know, the small ones. You know, I'm too tired to kind of go around because we got so many, I'm just taking the lawn mower and....

Jaime:

Oh gosh. Yeah. So those blades are definitely old and tired.

Dave:

Right

Jaime:

Right. It looks like we've got some, some things to do to sharpen our tools. You know, one of the things that I learned, and this was actually in a garden setting. My Aunt Kathleen, I absolutely love her. She was helping. Work on our yard to sell our first house. When we decided to move up to South Carolina, and actually at the time we didn't know where we were moving, but we knew we wanted to sell. So she came over, she was helping me in the yard and she was teaching me so much about the plants and the shrubs and how to replant them and cut 'em back and stuff. And she made a comment. She goes, You know, you're only as smart as your sharpest tool. Okay, so it was great analogy cause we're working in the garden and we needed sharp shears and clippers and stuff. And a good shovel, definitely with a nice sharp point on it. But she goes, But you know what your, your sharpest tool should be? And I'm looking at all the tools in front of us and I'm trying to figure out what she's saying. And I start naming off the yard tools and she's like: No, your sharpest tools should be your. And I loved that because that applies to everything in life. So right now we haven't been using our sharpest tool because we've just been wanting it to be fixed and we haven't really been seeking the solutions that we can do on our own. But we're gonna go down that path now. Try still trying to avoid the chemicals go more natural. I think we're gonna just take a section of the yard and test out the epsom salts.

Dave:

Sounds like a play.

Jaime:

All right. Thank you so much for joining us today. I am just super grateful that you took the time to listen to the Eco Mama Podcast.

Dave:

And I echo Jaime's sentiments. Thank you so much for listening.

Jaime:

Thank you, Dave for taking the time to spend with me and sharing your perspective on the lawn and finding a common ground.

Dave:

You got it, hun.

Jaime:

I hope you enjoyed this conversation today, listening to my husband and I go back and forth about solutions that we are seeking for our lawn care without using pesticides or chemicals that are harmful to our health. Be sure to subscribe to my channel so you don't miss any of these conversations. This Friday, be sure to tune back in as I do our deep dive on Focus Friday, and we discuss ingredients. Will we will be covering parabens. I'm looking forward to connecting with you again soon. Thank you so much, and have a wonderful week.