Be A Garden Renegade–Pick Up A Rake

Wednesday is Earth Day (although with the rapid acceleration of issues and problems around the globe, I could argue that every day should be Earth Day!) And yet what happened on the first lovely weekend of spring in my neighborhood? The gas guzzling,  polluting power equipment came out in droves in my neighborhood. I could barely hear myself think because of the noise from leaf blowers, lawn mowers and even lawn tractors.

Now, I have to ask myself, what on earth were those folks thinking?! The grass isn’t even green yet. There’s nary a crocus in sight and the only daffodils blooming are against warm southern exposures–in microclimates, in other words.

So there’s nothing to mow! And if they were using that gas guzzling power equipment to pick up lawn debris, might I suggest a radical idea? Use your two hands to collect any large branches and then pick up an old-fashioned rake and rake up the small stuff.

You’d be surprised about the benefits of raking. It can be aerobic if you do it correctly and long enough. It can also be pleasant. Without the noise and the gas fumes from your blowers in your face, you can hear all sorts of things–bird song, for example. It might actually make you enjoy something that you once thought of as a chore.

And it has benefits for the lawn. It can lightly de-thach and remove things like snow mold (which we all have lots of after this winter!)

Then, if you are top-dressing with compost (a great idea) or lightly sowing new seed, it will make better contact with the soil.  All that mowing (particularly with tractors!) and blowing just keeps the soil compacted.

Even if you are (perish the thought!) putting down one of those chemical fertilizers, it will now remain in place better until a rain washes it in, because it will actually have some soil to make contact with–not that same hard-packed stuff to roll off of.

So this spring, be a garden renegade–pick up a rake, get outside and get a little exercise and fresh air. It won’t kill you!

4 thoughts on “Be A Garden Renegade–Pick Up A Rake

  1. Donna@Gardens Eye View April 20, 2015 / 10:09 am

    We have never owned any of these power tools except for a lawn mower…it seems silly not to use a rake. But the reason so many are out cutting grass or using chemicals and garden power tools, I think is because of the box stores who are using a media blitz to get us out and doing yard work…and they show us what we need….of course I pay no attention to what they think I should use. I agree pick up a rake….

  2. gardendaze April 20, 2015 / 10:33 am

    In their defense, the box stores do sell rakes–but of course, they’re further down the aisles from all the nice shiny mowers and blowers. And their quiet as church mice so they’re not nearly so appealing.
    I wonder if it may have more to do with our frenzy to “get the work done” so we can relax. And then, if you’re anything like my neighbors, you pull out the ATVs and the dirt bikes so you can further make noise and pollute the atmosphere. I just don’t get that–not in suburbia, anyway. It’s not as if we live in some pristine wilderness–where I also wouldn’t want to encounter those things.


  3. The Chatsworth Lady April 20, 2015 / 3:31 pm

    On Saturday we had our first really nice warm day, and what did my neighborhood smell of? Oil from the chainsaws being used to cut down multiple oak trees. It went on for two hours and just as that crew was leaving, there was a parade of lawn services doing “spring cleanups”. FYI, I haven’t owned anything that runs on gasoline (except for my car!) for 20 years! I have a leaf blower and a small lawn mower but they both run on rechargeable batteries. The leaf blower is really only good for hard surfaces, as it doesn’t have much oomph.

  4. gardendaze April 20, 2015 / 4:44 pm

    It’s quite sad & disgusting, isn’t it? We do have a gas powered leaf blower, but we save it for–imagine this –leaves of all things! We have a heavily treed lot & our battery powered blower would not work in the fall. And needless to say, our battery powered mulching mower can’t keep up. For the most part we just try to return the leaves to our little woodland. They also mulch all my gardens over winter.

    Oh well. Even in today’s rain I noticed the yellow pesticide signs sprouting up so that dandelions wouldn’t have to. It would be comical if it weren’t so scary.


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