Grass Clippings

Welcome to Main Street, USA, that surreal spot located anywhere and everywhere across the nation where people just like you and me seem to spend every waking moment (at least during the spring and summer) primping and preening our lawns. When we’re not mowing and edging, we’re watering, fertilizing and making it our personal mission in life to camp out with night vision goggles so we can bust the covert canine pooper that’s mucking up one small but crucial corner of our Kentucky Bluegrass.

Keeping a watchful eye over our dutifully tended lawns is serious business, but even more hardcore is the reality of all that never ending mowing – piles and piles of clippings that we typically deposit into thick black plastic bags before bidding them adieu the moment our friendly sanitation worker hauls them away. Way to waste an eco-treasure.

Treasure? A bunch of stinky, gooey chopped up grass? Yep. Each time we plunk the contents of our lawn mower collection bag directly into the garbage can, we’re missing quite a few rather nifty opportunities to transform this raw resource into eco-gold:

CREATE A NATURAL WEED BARRIER

Any organic medium distributed around the base of your plants and garden beds – wood chips, cardboard, newspaper, and even shredded junk mail – is capable of discouraging weed seeds from taking root, so it stands to reason that grass is capable of serving a similar purpose. Just lay it on thick and feel triumphant in the knowledge that weedy invaders will be foiled.

CRAFT HOMEMADE GRASS-EMBEDDED PAPER

DIY enthusiasts – you’ve made your own paper before, right? While the process is a bit time consuming, the final product is totally fulfilling and entirely earthy, so don’t you think it’s high time that you incorporated fresh grass into the mix for a punch of texture and naturally pleasing scent?

MAKE DIY OIL INFUSED WITH THE AROMA OF FRESH CUT GRASS

In a similar vein as the previous suggestion, if you can transfer the scent of infinite botanicals into a natural carrier oil such as almond oil, why should your grass clippings be off limits? Friendly reminder – freshly mowed grass actually smells great and will make your home smell herbaceously irresistible!

NATURALLY FERTILIZE YOUR GARDEN

Here’s a secret that local lawn maintenance companies don’t want you to know, because once you catch wind of it, you’ll stop paying them big bucks to chemically douse every last blade of your emerald green carpet. You can achieve a pretty darned fantastic fertilizing effect at absolutely no cost by allowing your clippings to decompose directly on the turf itself. The lovely thing about this process is that it’s easy-peasy to do and if followed consistently, it will infuse approximately two pounds of Nitrogen into every 1000 square feet that it is applied to.

DONATE CLIPPINGS TO A LOCAL COMPOST COLLECTION CENTER

I bet you didn’t know that municipalities across the country have yard waste collection drop-off spots desperately craving your freshly sheared greens. Why do they go to all the trouble of recycling what could easily just be dumped in a landfill? Because organic matter ends up generating mad methane gases in the closed environment of a mass dumping ground, whereas when incorporated into a 100% organic collection facility, a fully usable, nutrient rich soil medium is produced that makes plants stretch out their roots and say, “Ooooo baby, gimme more!”

ALLOW HERBIVORE-LOVIN’ WILDLIFE TO FEAST ON A GRASS BUFFET

If you maintain a strictly organic lawn by steering entirely clear of the chemical-based fertilizers and insecticides, then you have some mighty fine munching material for the rodent population in your neighborhood: Bunnies and mice happen to go hog-wild for tender blades of grass, as do far larger ruminants such as cows and bison (not to mention our trusty cat and dog family members). On the other hand, you may not be terribly enthusiastic about seducing critters into the very same yard where your veggie garden grows… a plot that can be easily pilfered and munched into oblivion. Fair enough. Then how about donating your freshly-bagged grass to a local farm or petting zoo to help offset their food budget? That sounds like a win-win for Momma Nature and her wild kingdom.

Image via It’sGreg

For more juicy green goodness, follow Elizah via Twitter @elizahleigh