Use Grass Clippings As Vegetable Garden Mulch
Edited by Graeme, Eng
Mulch is a vital component for achieving a healthy garden.
There are two types of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulch can consist of leaves, straw, shredded bark or paper and grass clippings.
Using mulch is a great way to help the environment while you give your plants the protection and nourishment they need.
Inorganic mulch is made of things like rocks, gravel, plastic, and fabric. While it can also protect your plants from weather and pests, it doesn't offer any nutritional benefits such as you get from organic mulch.
Both organic and inorganic mulches help suppress weeds, however organic mulches are best because as they break down they give much needed nutrients back to the soil.
- Mulch, when properly used, is normally material that holds in moisture and protects growing plants from weeds and other problems. It can serve to insulate plants from weather that is either too hot or cold. Plus, it can deter many insects, depending on the mulch you choose.
- The material mulch is made of needs to be something that won't mat down or compact easily, so it should be loose and of a fairly coarse texture. For best results, put down a layer 2-4 inches deep. Be careful not to cover plants or create difficulty for seeds needing to break through the mulch.
What about Grass Clippings for Mulch?
- 1When it comes to picking a mulch to use, grass clippings is one of the better choices because it is both cheap and beneficial for plants in the garden.Lots of people choose to use grass clipping as mulch for those reasons.Advertisement
- 2Grass clippings have a lot of nitrogen as well as other nutrients like potassium and phosphorus, all of which are necessary for your plants to grow well.Another advantage of using grass clipping mulch is that you would normally have to get rid of the clippings some other way, so why not put them to good use.Advertisement
Facts on Using Grass Clippings
Avoid Certain Types of Grasses
- 1Grass clippings that contain weeds, crabgrass, or seed heads should not be used as mulching material because they will grow in your garden.Advertisement
- 2Don't use grass clippings that have come from areas treated with herbicides, insecticides, weed killers or fertilizers, as you could poison the vegetables growing in your garden.
Let Grass Dry Out Before Use
- 1One way people can get free grass clippings is to cut their neighbors' grass or ask them for their clippings.Most people will gladly let you rake it up for free just to avoid having to do it themselves.Advertisement
- 2If you get grass clippings from another source besides your own lawn, be sure to ask if any chemicals have been use on them.
- 3Be sure that the clippings are fresh otherwise decomposition could already have started or be well under way.The benefit from them will be reduced and spreading partly decomposed clippings could stink up your garden instead of providing the benefits you are looking for.
- 4Dry out your grass clippings prior to using as mulch.Since very fresh grass decomposes much more slowly than dried grass, it could suffocate your seedlings. Plus, decomposition produces heat which could ruin your chances of getting delicious fresh produce at harvest time. In order to dry out grass clippings, leave them on the lawn after a mowing session or spread them out on a paved areas and wait until they dry and turn brown before using them.
- 5You could also add the grass clippings to a compost pile and use the resulting compost mixture as mulch.
Applying Grass Clippings As Mulch
- 1Before putting down any type of mulch, you should always rake the area, pull up any weeds and get rid of snails, slugs, leaves or other things that are messing up your garden.Apply the grass clipping mulch by putting down 2-3 inches around the stems of the plants and over any open areas. However, be sure not to put down too much grass mulch or your seeds may not be able to grow through it.
- 2If you have leafy vegetables such as lettuce, make sure the clipping mulch doesn't touch the leaves.If you have plants already growing, be sure not to cover them up as you mulch the area.
- 3As you put down your mulch, spread it around loosely and don't press it down or step on it as you go, you don't want to smother anything.If it gets compacted it is likely to decompose on top but stay moist further down. This could attract unwanted pests or cause your plants to rot.
- 4When the grass clipping mulch has totally decomposed, add either more grass clippings or some other type of mulch.This should be done throughout the growing season. After the growing season is over, grass clippings can be worked into the soil so that additional nutrients can feed next year's crops.Advertisement
- The bottom line is that mulch is a valuable addition to any garden – vegetable or flower, and using organic forms of it like grass clippings is a cheap means of providing those nutrients. Help keep your vegetables and flowers healthy by mulching this growing season.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
Categories : Gardening
Recent edits by: Graeme