To bin or not to bin

Composting and mulching the lawn when mowingWhy would you pay for bagging your grass clippings and then pay again to have them brought to the local dump, landfill or recycling plant when you can dispose of them much more easily yourself. Cutting grass is not a strenuous activity if you have a good mower but emptying the grass box can be back breaking work. And, the thing is, you do not need to empty the box at all as there is a better way to dispose of the clipped grass. Very simply, you compost it as you cut, and you do so without having to lift a finger. Remove the box from your mower and set the machine to mulch mode. The cutting blade of the mower chops the grass into very small pieces and then scatters it over the lawn as you cut the grass. Mulching avoids the need for back breaking work of lifting heavy grass boxes and emptying them. Mulching considerably speeds up the task of mowing the lawn because you no longer have to stop and empty the mower bag. This saved time allows you to get on to do the more exciting work of modernizing your garden. There are other benefits too when you mow your lawn and just let the mulched clippings lie where they fall. 

Composting your lawn

Composting the grass clippings in this way improves the soil and helps promote growth of flower beds, rose shrubbery or vegetable patch that you may have close to the lawn. The key to this mulching method is to cut the grass frequently thus preventing too much mulched grass gathering at any given time. If you do want to add grass to your compost bin it can be raked up and layered into a compost bin with other household waste. Plastic compost bins become cracked and worn over the years but don’t throw them away when you get a new compost bin because old battered bins can be used to grow bin potatoes very successfully.

What foods are suitable for the compost bin?

Apart from the grass cuttings you can add items of household waste when making compost. It is best if you do not include cooking oil, cheese, meat, bread, bones or fat laden foods such as creams and dressings. It is better not to add shells of boiled eggs either as all of these foodstuffs mentioned can ferment and become odorous and attract vermin of all sorts. The things that you can add to a compost bin are vegetable peelings, over ripened fruit, tea leaves, coffee grounds, fruit skins and ‘raw’ egg shells. These organic foods will not attract rodents. If you make jams and preserves in wintertime or elderberry drinks in the springtime then the trimmings from these fruits and flowers can be added to the bin, but do ensure that you do not add any of these if they already have the sugar added.

Which non foods are suitable for the compost bin?

All yard trimmings are good for composting. Grass will work, as mentioned above, but so too will fallen leaves, old plants, newspaper, some weeds, wood, twigs, sawdust and wood ash. By following the advice above you will be making good use of organic waste. You will also be helping the environment by reducing landfill space that is becoming increasingly scarce. These household wastes are responsible for up to 30% of landfill space. A small amount of composting in every home will dramatically affect how we deal with waste materials on a big scale.

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