Summer is a good time to pause and ponder the usefulness of your lawn.
If no compelling reason other than tidiness comes to mind, let me suggest you plant it up or let it go. Either way you're adding to your home-grown mulch stash, improving the overall health of yours and your neighbor's garden, and have one less job on Saturday.
Indulge me here and my homegrown mulch addiction — because there is no goodness like it. Today I’m looking at homegrown hay mulch and the multitude of benefits that come your way when you let your lawn go.
Nuts and Bolts
Everywhere you weed-eat, mow or (god forbid) spray is fair game. Leave these areas alone until you next need mulch, at which point lop it down in your chosen way, leaving a good 10cm stub behind for best health.
There are a surprising amount of opportunities for homemade hay once your mind shifts its focus from tidy gardening to the wild-side. Let little bits around the edges, here, there and everywhere go wild and you'll be amazed at how much mulch you reap.
- Bees, butterflies and insects adore this kind of stomping ground.
- Soil life explodes too. Beneficial fungi and their companions gather beneath trees and spray free, wild areas and spread out from there developing a nutrient exchange network that boosts production and health 100 fold. This diverse community of miniature life forms keeps soil in good heart and is the wellspring of everyone's (crops, animals, humans) good health.
- Longer lawns prevent many weeds like Onehunga taking grip
- Growing your own mulch means there is one less thing to buy and along the way providing a pesticide free mulch for your garden - yes!
Blaze a Trail
Cut tracks through the long grass to where ever it is you roam - the washing line, the chook house, the veggie patch, the driveway. Tracks make getting about easier and keeps legs dry when it rains.
My Garden is Too Small
Many of you in small-space gardens dismiss this idea of growing your own mulch, thinking you have no room. The thing is there is no difference — small or large, the amount of space to grow the mulch is relative to the size of garden needing the mulch.
Fly In the Ointment
You may have one — another half with firm ideas of lawn management. Fingers crossed you can meet halfway.
A good next step is to mow a bit higher and get used to a more rustic look. Or have a play with leaving the lawn as long as possible before mowing. I feel a prize coming on for every centimeter!
When Meadow Lawn Doesn't Work
- Hayfever is no fun and if one of your beloveds gets sneezy and itchy this wont work for you. In this instance turn your lawn into a garden instead.
- Bee allergies are compelling reasons to cut the lawn and lop off clover flowers.
- High fire risk areas
- Young kids at play. We used to play cricket on the lawn but the kids are nearly all grown and flown so we no longer need it. I'm gradually planting it up. Life is change and gardens evolve alongside our needs.