Mike Nowak

Mike Nowak

The circle of feeding, growing and maintaining a lawn is mind-boggling. Ingest the ground with chemicals and spend even more time running through it with a gas-guzzling mower.  Yet, I know many homeowners want that pristine sea of green.

Mike Nowak might be able to insert some common sense into our love of lawns. His presentation, Guys on Grass (Organic Lawn Care 101) is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, 2014, at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, in Whipple Auditorium.

The free event is part of the Creative Gardening Series presented by ISU Extension and Outreach Linn County Master Gardeners.

See related stories here, and read on for more from the Master Gardeners:

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Greenscaping your lawn

“No Mow” lawns

As a die-hard gardener, Mike’s philosophy about lawns can be summed up in this phrase: “When in doubt, rip it out.” Yet, as a radio show host, he knows that people love their lawns, so his compromise is to preach the gospel of organic lawn care. He notes that 68% of consumers say that their concern for the environment is a consideration when buying lawn and garden products. Yet these same people are the ones who are afraid of what their neighbors will think if they don’t have a lawn that looks like a golf course fairway.  In this talk, Mike looks at why the concept of the “perfect lawn” is so harmful, starting with that lock-step mentality and moving on to the use of synthetic fertilizers and pervasive pesticides. He explains how some simple cultural practices can be just as effective as expensive chemicals to keep your lawn green and healthy. He shows you why what’s in your soil is at least as important as what’s above it. And he dares to ask the question, “Why are weeds so bad?” (Hint: they’re not.) 
Mike’s Bio:  Mike Nowak is host of the aptly-named “The Mike Nowak Show,” Sundays from 9 to 11am on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT 820AM and 92.5, 92.7 and 99.9 FM. For a decade before coming to WCPT, he was the host of WGN Radio’s “Let’s Talk Gardening” and has appeared on WGN-TV Channel 9, CBS 2 Chicago and the DIY Network. He is also a writer and award-winning columnist for Chicagoland Gardening Magazine. In the April, 2011 issue, Garden Design Magazine lists Mike’s show as one of five radio programs “we’re listening to.”  Mike is an Illinois Master Gardener and Openlands TreeKeeper. In 2002, he co-founded the Midwest Ecological Landscaping Association and served as MELA’s president for four years. He is president of the Chicago Recycling Coalition and part of the Speakers Network for SafeLawns.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting natural lawn care and grounds maintenance.