Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cash 4 Grass

Apparently, California's drought is hitting an all time low (high?) such that the city of Los Angeles is now paying people $1 per square foot to replace their grass with a drought-resistant alternative.

Now, this program may not be as lucrative as the highly esteemed Cash 4 Gold scheme, but if you live in L.A. and you have between 200 to 2,000 square feet of living lawn (they don't want your old, dead lawn), the Department of Water and Power will pay you to get rid of it. This even includes your parking strip as well.

If you live in L.A. and you aren't taking advantage of this incentive program, considering the new drought ordinances that started in June, you are, well, a moron. I'm sorry for saying it to your face, but there you go. Either that, or you really like grass. And tickets.

Anyway, I think if they offered an equal incentive program in the city of Seattle, the turf would be flying so fast it would look like a meteor hit the place. Of course, I don't know where all that good old chemical laden L.A. turf will go to rest. The giant compost bin in the sky?

What about you? Would you remove your lawn if someone paid you to? And, remember, no one is saying you have to remove all of it.

24 comments:

Green Bean said...

Woot!! Love that LA is doing this. All of CA and, frankly, the drier Western states need to go in this direction.

Our front lawn used to be in three separate sections. We started removing one section at a time. Now, no grass remains. Just pumpkins, cosmos, grapes and tomatoes. It's much more interesting to look at. And I did it for free! ;-)

Mary Kay said...

Actually, I'm glad we are having a drought! Maybe we'll see some change around here. Despite the fact that this is a fairly arid climate, a lot of people have swimming pools and a green lawn is considered the norm. It just doesn't make sense. I don't see anyone around here (Sacramento) opting for a drought-tolerant landscaping theme. If I owned a home, I would do it for free as well. I think I read recently that it is now illegal for homeowner's associations to force people to have green lawns. Now, when is the change going to happen???

Q said...

I would remove my lawn in a heartbeat(If I had one). Although if I had a yard to have lawn in, it would be a garden already so I wouldn't have the choice.

ruchi said...

Okay Cash for Grass is really cool and all and I'm glad that they are doing it, but I got to tell you this program is kind of a let down from what I thought it would be about given its name....

Farmer's Daughter said...

As runoff is the #1 pollution problem in Long Island Sound (more than sewage!) I'd be happy if a program like this was started here. However, with a month straight of rain, rain, rain, I don't see anything like this happening here any time soon.

Would I do it? Depends. I'm not sure what I'd replace it with so I'd have to do some research. We have a huge lawn, mostly because this lot was hayfield before we built our house so it was tree-less. Of course we've planted a bunch of trees, but they're little. Also, would veggies gardens qualify? I water my veggies much much more than I water my lawn.

(As an aside, why do so many of my comments here relate to sewage???)

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

I was raised in an area that took pride in beautiful lawns edged in flowering bushes and leafy trees, which took tons of water and maintenance. Now I find native perennials prettier. (Along with the veggie garden!)
Did you see yesterday's article in the NYTimes about how it has been illegal in some states to catch rainwater? I never knew that in some areas, the rain that falls on your property isn't really yours. I really feel for these folks.
This is the link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/us/29rain.html?scp=2&sq=rainwater&st=cse

Sarah said...

Better if L.A. just started charging enough for water that people would choose to do it themselves.

Joyce said...

I don't water grass, but I live where we are more likely to get too much water than to little. Still, wouldn't it depend on what the replacement was? If you replace grass with something that still must be watered, what do you accomplish? If you are replacing it with desert plants and gravel, that is different.

The problem with raising the price on water is that everyone uses it to some degree, and it would penalize apartment dwellers, etc., who are not watering lawns. I think this program makes sense, if the replacement landscaping is climate appropriate.

Sarah said...

Joyce- the problem you cite, with water potentially just being used for other things, is what an economic solution would prevent. It doesn’t matter if people are wasting water on irrigation, long showers, or slip-n-slides. Solutions that focus on just one part of the problem are less productive than a solution that creates disincentives to use extra water on ANYTHING.

There are water pricing options that charge a low price per gallon for reasonable-household-quantities of water and jump to a much higher price per gallon for monthly usage above that amount. At one point landlords in LA were not legally allowed to charge their tenants for water, which is just crazy. Pricing does affect usage, especially in a slow economy.

Marissa said...

My coworker puts out a sprinkler every day to water the lawn so it will be green. This drives me absolutely crazy! He mentioned it yesterday, looking for a pat on the back, and I plainly told him how I feel about lawns. Not that it does any good. He told me he "thinks it looks nice". And when I got to work this morning, there he is, watering the lawn.

Joyce said...

Sarah, the two-tiered pricing system makes lots of sense. I haven't heard about that (again, I live where we don't have as big an issue with drought).

Here, the one utility that apartment dwellers are most likely to have to pay is the gas/electric bill. It does indeed cause conservation on the part of tenants. The same thing should be done with water, in my opinion.

Laura said...

That sounds pretty cool! I agree Seattlites would be on an incentive program like green on grass.
But why don't they want a person's old, brown lawn? If the point is to reroute people from using tons of water on their lawn, why not pay for the brown stuff too?

And that is a very good question... Where is all the grass going?

temptressyarn said...

Though I like the idea of paying more for all water use, I wonder if it really causes more class wars than anything else. It seems there are always be those rich and stupid enough to pay for whatever luxuries they want.

Also, just removing lawn without forcing a solution could cause a huge problem later on, in the form of runoff (when/if it does rain) and a localized rise in the temperature due to lack of foliage. I hope the program offers some mitigation and is not just swapping one problem for another.

Sonja and Chris said...

Heck ya! We just moved into a new house in Seattle and have miles of green lawn. ugh. I'm feeling a bit intimidated by the prospect of getting rid of it; a cash incentive would help (and it might get my husband on board, too!)

blondeoverboard said...

it would be gone in a hamster's heartbeat! as it is now, i'm watching it dry up with hidden glee. for each inch that succumbs to the heat i throw down some cardboard, old grass clippings and dead leaves and call it a flower bed. well... broccoli does get flowers :)

Amber said...

I have a lawn. I don't water it. I live in Vancouver and it generally stays pretty green on its own. And we have an electric mower which isn't ideal but is far better than gas.

I will admit I do like some lawn as it gives my kids a place to play unsupervised (since I get testy if they run through my garden beds). I am happy to give up some, but probably not all, at least not yet.

Robj98168 said...

Honestly, I would (and am ) give up my grass in a new york minute. I hate grass- messes with my sinuses,needs to be mowed (should be watered But i dont) I am almost ready to gravel in my front yard this year- just beds of plants, half edible, half ornamental.

Allie said...

No, I wouldn't get rid of my grass. I like it, and even more importantly, my dog likes it. I never water it though. Like with my car, I let nature handle those sorts of things. My thought is that sometimes neglect makes things work a little better. Without ever watering (and we've had 100+ days for the last couple weeks, w/ only two hours of rain total), my grass is still green and happy looking.

Correne said...

I have mixed feelings about grass. I don't think we should waste money and resources watering and fertilizing it, but the kids and the dog need a place to play. I have seen variations of rocks, mulch, wood chips, patios, and various other things, but none of them look like a great place for my kids to go out to play, or an easy place to pick up doggie doo-doo.

I have recently become aware of a mixture of native low-growing grass that does extremely well here in central Alberta without any watering or mowing. I am planning to overseed each year with that, and hopefully it will eventually take over my sad-looking lawn.

organicneedle said...

It actually sounds like a very reasonable, well thought out plan. They aren't saying you can't have grass...just grass that works for your environment. They are even willing to educate people as to which grasses are native, therefore requiring less water.

The issue we have with the NYC islands, including LI, is not so much a lack of water most of the time, but the chemicals people put on their lawn to maintain that Stepford Lawn look...which eventually end up in the water supply. Here, we need to see strict legislation as to what people can use and incentive for homeowners to go organic in their lawn care. I am pleased to see more landscaping companies advertising organic options, but it isn't cheap. I would love to see more government sponsored education about organic lawn care for those who can't afford to hire someone else to do it AND somesort of tax incentive for people to give the boot to toxic lawn chemicals.

C.S. said...

I live in the South, Alabama specifically - and I HATE my large lawn. Love the neighborhood, but since I'm a widow and have allergies, cannot do my own lawncare. Keeping the grass mown is getting very expensive. I'm planning to have professional landscaping done this fall, in some way that there will be virtually NO grass, with maybe just a small grassy space for my small dogs to go poo. Hopefully I can turn it into something productive as well; I do have a veggie garden this year in one corner, but want the remainder of grass GONE.

Jenn said...

I'm dying to replace my lawn with veggie garden - my landlord says "no." :(

Sharlene said...

We have no lawn and we live near LA. Lawns are totally over rated.

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