In the garden with Urban Harvest: Nature provides another lesson
The native species that make up the plant palette of prairie ecosystems include mainly grasses and forbs - herbaceous, flowering plants - and are very heat and drought tolerant. With their deep roots (some grass roots go down 15 to 30 feet), indigenous prairie plants can adjust to harsher conditions, help absorb and retain water during periods of rain and stabilize soil, preventing erosion. During a prolonged drought, plants go dormant, but generally do not die. Because it is ecologically sound, a prairie landscape requires far less water than conventional lawns, and none of the chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In the process, a wonderful, bio-diverse, year-round habitat emerges attracting pollinators of all sorts, including butterflies and other beneficial insects, song-birds, toads, and other wildlife in need of a healthy environment in which to thrive. Conventional, thirsty lawns - our typical urban and suburban monocultures - offer little sustenance for wildlife, drain our natural resources and wallets, and absorb a fraction of the runoff that ends up in our storm-drain system. Learn about gardening classes, community and school gardens, farmers' markets, fruit tree sales and more at urbanharvest.org.