Digging in the yard

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Monlam Tharchin
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Digging in the yard

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:34 pm

I'm removing lawn grass to replace it with a natural meadow as habitat for bugs and birds.
But it's inevitable that small insects and worms will be harmed or killed by the digging.

Is there any practice, mantra, etc. that can be done beforehand to either drive the little bugs out of harm's way, or at least benefit them somehow?
I was thinking of just chanting manis per usual but I wanted some input.

Thank you :smile:

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Inge
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by Inge » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:14 pm

It is painful to be crushed.

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jkarlins
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by jkarlins » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:28 pm

I think FPMT has some stuff for ants and bugs. You could check their website.

Jake

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:23 pm

FPMT had just the answers I was looking for. I found a document of advice by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, How to benefit animals that talks generally about pets but also the insects we encounter inside and outside our homes. It's given me some ideas. He also wrote a response to a letter about benefiting insects.

Thank you very much for pointing me in this direction :smile:

From a purely practical standpoint as well, I've found that worms at least flee strong vibrations, so I'll make sure to knock on the soil pretty well in each section before I start digging.

Inge: Yes, and we crush many bugs while driving or walking, too. That's why it's important to find things we can do to try to benefit the little ones we accidentally kill.

Miroku
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by Miroku » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:58 pm

If you do 1000 mani mantras per day, then you body becomes like a prayer flag, and you can benefit people and animals through bathing in the same water, so I would guess it would work also through such actions at killing and touching them. So if you want to keep it simple I think mani is a safe bet.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
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You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
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jkarlins
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by jkarlins » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:54 am

you're welcome! glad I could help.

Jake

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tomschwarz
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by tomschwarz » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:41 pm

??? You want to convert grass to medow ??? So you plan to dig it up? ....just leave it, let it grow and bam, meadow.

See here is the thing. Life is brutal. Not just humans, we did not invent dog eat dog, let the best survive, competitive markets. That is just us doing our best to imitate the medow/grass, as you put it.

Look at 1 square foot of "grass". What is happening is that every blade and leaf are competing for sun, one over the other, wider, higher, saisonal, phased, and so on, to beat out the next plant in photosynthesis. And look underground it only gets worse with all kinds of gorilla tactics.

One wonderful thing you can do, is nothing.... great stress reliever. A great practice would be to sit for an hour a day and observe one square foot of this grass as it naturally tranforms into more than grass, and simply try to accepr exactly what is happening there, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

narhwal90
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by narhwal90 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:04 pm

We've had good luck converting sections of the yard by tossing in wildflower seeds and mowing infrequently, generally leaving the 1st mowing till late after the grape hyacinths finish flowering. Spring flowers compete best around here, things that grow quickly before the grass really gets moving. In summer grass is a tough competitor, and it will push out the dandilions if given the chance. OTOH if we let the grass get tall then the praying mantises show up- whenever they're around I'm very glad to not be an insect myself. It helps to leave a mowable strip around any section you let run, to keep the jungle from getting out of control- and mow it all down in late fall/winter. All sorts of interesting plants show up once an area is free to grow, though it may take a few years. One way or another, toss in some sunflower seeds too- tall grass doesn't bother them & the goldfinches are fun to watch.

We have tilled which doesn't seem to change things much. One alternative is to "solarize" areas, put down black plastic sheet, weighted by shovelfuls of gravel or similar- so the area beneath gets nuked by the sun and gets no light or water; leaving it for a couple summers will wipe out nearly all grass and weeds beneath.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:32 pm

Tom: I didn't elaborate much so I could focus on the question, but since you ask :smile:

A few years ago, a swarm of bees came into one of our trees. But we had only grass, a monoculture. That is, one type of plant, mostly dead all summer when they were here. The bees left.
I got in touch with a local organization that specializes in native plants, which occur naturally in the area so the bugs and birds that live here can find food and shelter in them.
With the group's guidance, I've been digging up the unfruitful lawn grass and replacing it with wildflowers and tall native grasses.
This summer was the first bloom. I was really glad to see lots of bees and hoverflies.
The aim is to provide more food and shelter to these little creatures than existed before :)

I'd eventually like to put some kind of little stupa in the middle for them too, but I'm not sure how.

If you're interested, there might even be a local native plant group in your area! :cheers:

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:48 pm

narhwal90: that's not a bad idea at all. I think for us, since our lawn was so old, the roots are very deep and outcompete everything. We did cardboard + mulch on one side, but it took like 18 months to break down. I'm just digging up the other parts with a shovel now, though you're right in that it's not nearly as effective... little grass roots are all it takes to start growing back!

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Ayu
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by Ayu » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:51 pm

With a garden fork there is less harm. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_fork
It doesn't cut the ground and roots.
After digging a line you can sort out only this alien grass and leave other plants on the ground. If there's enough rain/water, everything will grow again.

A wild meadow has to be mowed once a year in the late summer - or twice, depends on the climate in your area. Otherwise the weed can't grow next year.
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Hate is too great a burden to bear.
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narhwal90
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Re: Digging in the yard

Post by narhwal90 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:04 pm

Personally I like mosses, they never grow where I wish they would but don't seem to mind the most difficult and unpleasant parts of the yard- for instance along the driveway where they are alternately driven over and submerged in puddles.

A few years back my wife decided to make a section of meadow and proceeded to spray the whole area with round-up (she never thought to even discuss it...) which really bummed me out, and she never put down any seeds... The area looked like a hideous chemical burn for a couple years, airborne seeds being the only volunteers, but interestingly, a few years since theres quite a bit of moss there and very little grass. But I sure don't recommend such a chemical approach- it still looks like an accident.

When we moved in 20 years ago I inadvertently left a clay planter bowl upside down beside the garage & forgot about it as its routinely overgrown with various other plants.. I've always wondered what sort of stuff goes on under there; No hole in it- protected from rain & snow & too much sun, fairly well drained and undisturbed- but I'll keep leaving it alone.

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