The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Green grass clippings as mulch

When we first got our mulching mower, I followed the advice of various websites and carefully dried the clippings on a tarp before using them as mulch.  Since then, I've gotten sloppy, with no ill effects.  My current mulch method is to put the fresh clippings directly on the bed, like so:

New grass clipping mulch.

I'm careful not to let them touch any plants, since fresh clippings can heat up as they decompose.  In about a week, they've all turned brown and are mostly dry, though I noticed a bit of mildew on the bottom layer (presumably the reason other gardeners prefer to dry the clippings before applying them.  Some urban flower gardeners have complained about a bad smell as their glass clippings decompose.)

Grass clipping mulch after a week.

Six weeks later, the grass clippings have nearly disintegrated into the soil.  The quick decomposition of grass clippings is both their upside --- they quickly feed your vegetable beds --- and their downside --- they won't provide a long term weed barrier.  I use the clippings around annuals where I don't mind checking back at intervals to make sure the beds are still weed-free.

Grass clipping mulch after six weeks, nearly disintegrated.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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