A team of University of Georgia researchers is studying the use of home lawns as garden plots. If successful, suburbanites with warm-season lawns could plant fall vegetables on top of their turfgrass lawns.
“Enthusiasm for local food production and self-sufficiency has generated an increased interest in home vegetable gardens. But, many urban dwellers have small outdoor spaces and often lawns occupy the only full sun areas in the landscape,” said Ellen Bauske, a program coordinator at the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture and leader of the project.
A happy medium
Many would-be urban gardeners love their lawns too much to replace them with a vegetable garden, according to Bauske.
“They enjoy spending their summers on the lawn, watching the kids play while admiring their well-manicured lawn,” she said. “Tearing up the lawn and putting in a traditional garden may not be the best option. Gardens are a lot more work to maintain than lawns and have an unconventional look. Your neighbors may not be pleased to see a working garden in your front lawn.”
At UGA, Bauske’s goal is to find a happy medium—a way to successfully grow vegetables without destroying turfgrass. She, along with horticulturist Sheri Dorn and turfgrass specialist Clint Waltz, all with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, are recording the effects of planting fall vegetable crops into warm-season hybrid bermudagrass.