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www.greenbuildermag.com 08.2012


SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED – The Hands-On Handbook Continued from previous page 28


Flowers, Yes, Food, It Depends


~ How-to ~ REPLACE A LAWN CONVERTING TO CLOVER


A Phoenix couple replanted a barren lot with strawberry clover, converting it into a low- maintenance, drought-tolerant greenspace.


1


Break Ground. The hard pea gravel soil had to be broken up to a depth of about 18 inches. The toughest part of the job, the owner did the labor by hand.


Note that this process is not intended for vegetable gardening. If you intend to grow food in your yard, you’ll need to take an extra step: Test for lead (and possibly arsenic if you have an old apple tree or a pressure treated deck nearby) Many older homes have very high lead concentrations in nearby soil, because lead paints were not banned until 1978. If lead is high, you can either mitigate with phytoremediation (lead absorbing plants) or have the soil removed and replaced. The former is inexpensive, but takes a couple of years. The latter is fast but costly. If no nasty chemicals are present, you should be safe to grow food right away.


2


Add Earth. Several inches of organic compost were added to the site, along with a fi cus tree for future shade. The area was rototilled to mix the new soil with existing gravel, then compacted with a roller barrel.


3


Field of Green. The tiny clover seeds were combined with an “inoculant” for better germination, then mixed in a wheelbarrow with compost and sand before planting. The resulting yard requires occasional mowing and minimal watering.


Source: http://phoenixpermaculture.ning.com


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