Grow Food Not Grass Sign
Grow Food Not Grass sign in Scott's garden. This is a terraced garden in his front yard next to the sidewalk. Anyone that walks by is welcome to help themselves to jalapeño pepper or tomato.

Grow Food NOT Grass

What better way to have a backyard adventure than to grow a garden?

Grow Food Not Grass Sign close up
This is another project you can do at home. Scott used a woodburning tool to make this sign. It’s a nice piece of maple wood. Did you recognize the apple and the egg in the word “food”?

Our Backyard Adventures are fun and easy mini-expeditions that you can do — you guessed it! — right in your own backyard. These activities are designed to help students and parents explore the world with eyes of wonder. Along the way, you might discover new areas of interest, new dreams and potential new careers. Find more Backyard Adventures here.

ASSIGNMENT: Your adventure, should you choose to accept it, is to grow a simple garden. Growing basil in a pot is an easy way to get started. Below you will see Scott’s latest improvements. It took him years to work up to this level, but it wasn’t work — it was fun!

Here is my new “Grow Food NOT Grass” sign that I made using a wood burner, a nice piece of walnut and some scraps. This goes with the terraced garden that I built in the spring. Actually, this is the front lawn, so my sign also serves to inspire everyone that walks past to plant their own garden.

I like to be a good neighbor and encourage people to cooperate, so I actually encourage people to take vegetables from my garden. But you’ll notice that I do put all the hot peppers upfront. I don’t want them to take everything. Haha. The best part is that sometimes my neighbors surprise me with some eggs from their chicken or a jar of jam.

A garden not only saves money, but it’s also more healthy and better for the environment. Some interesting factoids:

  • Over 90% of the vegetables in the grocery store come from a different state.
  • Almost all grocery store vegetables, even food labeled as organic, use pesticides and fertilizers.
  • If everyone grew their own garden, we could save billions of dollars and billions of gallons of gas used to transport the food.

Rain barrel

Rain barrel hookup
Here is a simple rain barrel installation. I created a foundation with some gravel and pavers. Then modified a plastic barrel with a kit you can buy online. I got the barrel free at a local winery. It was full of syrup flavoring.

Here is something that I think everyone should have.

This rain barrel took me about 2 hours to install and cost only $50 USD. The hard part was building the base and getting around that fence. The next day there was a huge rainstorm and it filled up in about 10 minutes. I could have gotten over 20 barrels of water that day.

Soon, I will be hooking up a soaker hose that goes downhill to my garden — plants love rainwater more than anything. Then all I have to do is open the valve and go have a cup of coffee. The barrel also saves double the money: once for the water going into the house and once for the water going out of the house into the sewer. Keeping stormwater out of the sewers also prevents the neighborhood basements from flooding and keeps all the toxic sludge from getting flushed into the Ohio River and into your drinking water.

I plan on adding another one in the backyard. Thanks to the Sierra Club and their rain barrel workshop.

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Scott Stoll

Scott Stoll

My claim to fame is that I rode a bicycle around the world and wrote some books. More about me.
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