How To Use Grass Clippings From Your Garden

Grass clippings are an abundant and useful resource if you have a lawn. Many mistakenly throw their grass clipping away after mowing. But sending grass to landfill contributes to global warming, as organic matter in landfill releases methane – a potent greenhouse gas. Even where it is collected and used responsibly, putting your grass clippings in your garden waste bin is not good practice. Making full use of this resource yourself is easy – a free way to improve and maintain your garden. But how should you use grass clippings from your garden?

Leave Some Grass Clippings on Your Lawn

First of all, if you want to maintain a healthy lawn, leaving some clippings to lie where they fall on the lawn. Removing all the organic material is not the best way to keep your lawn looking lush. As long as the clippings are not too long, and are spread out a little to allow light to reach the lawn, the material will soon naturally break down to feed the soil and help make sure there is plenty of fertility to allow the grass and other plants to be able to regrow.

Add Some Grass Clippings (a little at a time) To Your Compost Heap

You can also collect up grass clippings and add them to your compost heap. The key thing to remember if you plan to add grass to a compost heap is that adding too much at one time can leave the heap a slimy, stinky mess, as oxygen is excluded and anaerobic decomposition takes place. To maintain a healthy heap with aerobic, odourless decomposition, simply add the clippings in thin layers, separated by layers of carbon-rich 'brown' materials.

Make A Nitrogen-Rich Mulch

You can also add grass clippings in a thin layer directly to the soil around shrubs and trees, or around certain leafy plants with high nitrogen needs. Grass clippings work well around brassicas in a vegetable bed, for example, and adding grass clippings around potatoes can be a good alternative to earthing up. Just make sure not to add too much too thickly, and keep the material away from plant stems so they do not rot.

Build Up New Growing Areas/ Raised Beds

A related idea is to use grass clippings, along with layers of cardboard and other carbon rich material, to compost in place and create new growing areas or raised beds on an area of your lawn, or on hardstanding areas.

Make a Nitrogen-Rich Liquid Plant Feed

Finally, you can also use grass clippings to make a liquid plant feed to feed nitrogen hungry plants. Simply add grass clippings to a bucket of water (with a lid to contain the smell), and leave to break down. You can then strain the mix and use it, diluted, to provide a boost to leafy plants.

These are just some of the ways in which you can use grass clippings to return fertility to your garden and return the surplus for a sustainable garden system.