Gov. David A. Paterson signed New York's Child Safe Playing Fields Act into law on Tuesday, exciting organic lawn proponents, child health and safety advocates, and a certain Newsday garden blogger.

The law, which bans the use of chemical pesticides on school grounds, including playing fields and playgrounds, also has been hailed by Paul Tukey, author of "The Organic Lawn Care Manual" (Storey, 2007): "We need to protect children from the toxic effects of pesticides such as weed killers, insecticides and fungicides. ... Numerous studies indicate these chemical substances are not safe for children, pets or the planet," he said, adding, "I believe that New York has 'fired a shot' that will be heard around the entire country."

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Tukey has long maintained that a perfectly fine lawn can be attained using organic methods and that in the long run, those methods are not only safer, but less expensive.

One such lawn would be my own. I have never used a pesticide on my lawn -- or any of my plants, either. Sure, I have weeds, and sure, I get bare patches where my dog pees, but I don't employ all of Tukey's suggested methods. I just aerate in the fall and spring and seed once or twice a year, and I only water for a few weeks after seeding, never irrigating a mature lawn, and my grass is perfectly fine, though I realize that term is relative.

Admittedly, I'm not a good example of someone who grows an organic lawn. That would be someone who actually applies organic priciples, like putting down corn-gluten meal in early spring to combat crabgrass, among other things. I just let the lawn do its own thing.

If maintained properly, schools' play areas will look a lot better than my lawn. "Numerous examples of natural lawns exist across North America, and studies indicate that the playing surfaces look great," according to Tukey. "Plus, natural lawn care helps the bottom line due to a reduced need for mowing, watering and pesticide applications."

If you're more concerned than I am about having a lawn your neighbors will envy, pick up a copy of Tukey's book and give his methods a try, or at least visit