3 Simple Steps, Garden

3 Simple Steps – Yard Care

With spring around the corner (we hope) in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere (hi friends to the south) moving into fall I’d thought it time to mention:

3 Simple Steps – Lawn Care

lawn
(1) When you mow let the clippings fall back to the ground. This will provide nutrients for the lawn, food for the good microbes in the soil, and save you a bit of work.

If you must bag the clippings then: Compost – either in your yard or through a community composting program. compost

[Many communities now have green waste cans along with the trash and recycling cans – YAY for them. If you’re community has yet to get with modern times most landfills or transfer stations offer a green waste drop off. This is also a good place to pick up inexpensive compost or mulch]

 

(2) Aerate – this process allows needed nutrients to reach the roots of your lawn aeration-graphic
There are many devices touting they can aerate your lawn (shoes with spikes – they don’t work, equipment to buy or rent) the easiest is to hire a lawn care company to come and aerate for you. They have the right equipment and it is fairly inexpensive. As a bonus you won’t have to deal with the care and storage of another piece of machinery. If you think of renting an aerating machine keep in mind those suckers are heavy and you will have to transport and clean the equipment.

(3) For that extra green boost switch to an electric mower or better yet a new push mowerreel mower
Want even more organic lawn care tips? Check out this slide show from Popular Mechanic.
3 Simple Steps will pop up occasionally on this blog and feature easy to manage, difference making, changes you can do right there in your home and community. If you have a topic idea you’d like to see leave me a message.

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Garden

Leaves

                                   Leaves

                                                 Leaves

leaves cropped by Ben Dalton
Ben Dalton (cropped)

                                                               Leaves

 

the bane of many homeowners, especially those with lawns. Our parents taught us – rake up those leaves. Then they were typically bagged and hauled off to the dump.

                                                                                                What

                                                                                      A

                                                                Waste

                                               A waste of time

                                                                A waste of energy

                                                                                A waste of resources

There are better things to do with leaves then shove them in plastic bags and consign them to the trash heap.

If you do have lawn, and your leaves are relatively disease and pest free, use your mower and mulch them in place.  Michigan State University did a study and found that when the leaves were mower mulched the lawns did not suffer any ill effects and in the spring were actually healthier than their unmulched counterparts. This is the method we use in our orchard. As a bonus, the chickens love to scratch and peck around in the mulched leaves for tasty bugs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The best way to mower mulch the leaves into your lawn is to mow with the bag removed. Mow in the direction so the leaf litter and grass clipping are blown to the section you will next mow so each leaf will get passed over a few times. The goal is to cut the leaves into dime sized pieces. If after the first pass the leaves are still to big cross over your lawn again at a 90o angle. Depending on the amount of leaf fall you have you may need to mow more than once a week.

The leaf bits will sift their way down below the blades of grass giving back nutrients and energy just when most North American grass is at its prime root building phase.

Next Week: But I really need, or want, to rake those leaves – what do I do with them?

colorful leaves Ctd 2005 cropped
photo by – Ctd