Don’t Throw Away Your Grass Clippings! While your lawn may not be the best use of space, that doesn’t mean it has to be a waste of space! There’s one by-product of a lawn that has so many uses in the garden, Grass Clippings!
In this article, I’ll show you my top 5 ways that I like to use Grass Clippings in my garden to help me grow the best crops, year after year. Don’t bag up and throw away that extra grass. Put it to work for you and your garden for less time and effort than it takes to bag it up as waste!
A Brief History of lawns
Since the days of 17th-century England and France, a closely cropped ultra-green grass was a symbol of both wealth and status. Even homeowners today present company excluded take pride in their green scaping using a myriad of tools, chemicals, fertilizers, and watering apparatuses to keep it in tip-top shape.
It can be a lot of work to grow and maintain a nice lawn, not to mention the investment in equipment that’s often required. So while it may seem like your lawns are a time and money sink with very little in return, let’s look at ways that this symbol of excess can give back to your garden by looking at the excess.
5 Ways to use grass clippings in your garden
1. Chop and Drop
The first that you can use your lawn clippings is to simply be lazy and by that, I mean to just chop and drop. Take the bag off your mower and return the grass clippings to the scene of the crime by simply allowing the cutter blades to be spread evenly across the lawn.
This actually helps out your lawn in two ways: The freshly cut grass returns both water and nutrients back to your lawn, allowing it to stay nice and healthy and green and requiring far less inputs.
Shorter is better as the smaller blades break down faster than the longer ones plus they’re less likely to clump and smother the lawn. Nice loose even half-inch blades is what you’re after.
Now that’s going to deal with a certain amount of excess grass clippings but likely not all that your lawn is going to produce.
2. Magnificient mulch
One way that I love to use extra grass clippings is as a mulch, especially on potted plants.
Just like leaving them on your lawn those grass clippings are going to return nutrients and organic matter back to your soils as they break down and mulching does what mulching does, it reduces temperature extremes, protects your soil from exposure, reduces water loss, and prevents soil leaching during those periods of heavy rain.
Grass clippings are free premium organic mulch don’t waste them.
3. Compost Accelerator
This next method is probably the most common way to deal with excess grass clippings and that’s just to compost them. If you have a small lawn and a rather large compost you can simply pile on the clippings without much thought.
For larger lawns, however, a compost balance of nitrogen, carbon, moisture, and oxygen can quickly get out of whack. As rudimentary rule composts operate most efficiently around the balance of its browns and its greens. That is your carbon to nitrogen ratio.
30:1 is the recommended balance for a healthy compost with 30 parts carbon to one part nitrogen by weight. A giant pile of freshly cut grass is the ultimate nitrogen source.
Too much grass clippings or more importantly its orientation on your compost can turn it into a smelly mess. Piled too much on itself grass clippings are gonna clump, they’ll form a mat, become anaerobic, and stall your compost pile.
Work your grass clippings into the compost to prevent this and if you’re adding a lot of excess clippings supplement it with some carbon sources. Keep that ratio balanced.
Grass can definitely jump start and accelerate a compost pile but only if done the right way.
4. Use your grass clippings to make a fertilizer tea
One of my absolute favorite ways to use excess grass clippings is to make a fertilizer tea. Organic fertilizers can be costly and they often come in small quantities at the retail level. But you can make your own nitrogen-rich liquid boost just from your excess grass, water, and thyme.
Fill a bucket with as much grass clippings as it’ll hold really pack it in there. Next, fill it upright to the top with some rainwater or tap water that you’ve let sit around for a few days. Put a lid on the container and let that sit for about two to four weeks.
The warmer it is the faster this process goes. You want the mixture to turn anaerobic and ferment itself. After the grass has really broken down strain off those undigested bits and you’re left with a nice boost for all your plants literally for free.
In terms of that ever-important NPK balance, it’s gonna be skewed slightly higher in nitrogen. So use accordingly for vegetative growth or for non-flowering crops.
Strength wise I use mine pretty much exclusively at a 1:4 ratio of tea to water, that is one part fermented grass to four parts water, basically 20% strength.
Topwater it into all your favorite crops indoors or out once a month and watch them explode with green growth.
5. Use excess grass clippings for filling brand new raised beds
And the final way that I like to use excess grass clippings in my garden is to jumpstart brand new garden beds. When I’m filling brand new raised beds very rarely will I fill the entire thing with costly topsoil?
Instead combined with compost I’ll use grass clippings as a base fill to provide instant nutrients to the new crops and valuable organic matter to the lower soil profile.
This alternating layering of grass and soil and compost produces amazing results in the first year. So when you’re starting a brand new garden or a brand new raised bed this is very very handy.
It’s just a much better and easier way of gardening than slowly conditioning lesser soils to be just adequate. It’s free, it’s easy and it really works. The plants respond and it saves on money and labor.
Well, there you have it, five new ways to use that ever-increasing supply of grass clippings in and around your garden. Don’t look at them as a waste product instead think of freshly cut grass as a resource, infinitely generated, available all the time, ready to boost your crops to new levels.
So next time you’ve got to go mow that lawn instead of playing in your garden just think of all the ways you can help your crops after you’re done.
Hey, thanks so much for reading guys. I appreciate the support more than you know and if you’re getting value from this article please share them to spread the word and help your fellow gardener to grow better.