Susan W
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1859
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:46 pm
Location: Memphis, TN

Grass clippings

I just have to ask as many here put grass clippings in the compost. When I mow with the regular mower (mulcher mower), I don't attatch the bag, and the clippings go back into the lawn. If the grass gets a bit tall and is mowed there will be small drifts. I just spread those out over the grass. I do on rare moments clip the grass growing up around one small raised bed. The clippings get spread out around the plants.

Question being, where do you get all those grass clippings for your compost?!
Have fun!
Susan

User avatar
farmerlon
Green Thumb
Posts: 671
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: middle Tennessee

I don't add a lot of grass clippings to my compost piles, but I do collect a lot of grass for mulching the garden.
I have one of those "lawn rakes" that is towed behind the mower/tractor to collect grass clippings (or leaves in the Fall). That will collect a lot of material quickly.
I will occassionally sprinkle some grass clippings on the compost pile.

If you do add grass to the compost, it's usually best to do it in thin layers. A layer of grass that is too thick will tend to form a dense mat that excludes air and water.

greenstubbs
Senior Member
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:41 pm
Location: N. Nevada

90% of mine is grass clippings with whatever else I throw into it. I don't have a huge yard but it's big enough that I get a good pile every time I cut the lawn. I do lke the idea of using it in the coop, I'm sure that putting in your paths while the poop is breaking down burns anything that might try to grow in it's wake.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Even if you don't bag your clippings (they do say returning the clippings to the soil is good for the lawn), in my experience, if you do some de-thatching, you will get plenty of grass for compost pile or mulching. Also I have lots of grassy weeds or grass that comes up as a weed in places I don't want it. Third source of grass clippings for me is all the stuff that gets swept up off the sidewalk after using the edger/ weed whacker on all the edges.

I don't put a whole lot of grass in the compost pile though, because I use most of it for mulching.

I have plenty of greens from pulled weeds in the compost pile...
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

I usually let them fly because I don't use much fertilizer on the lawn and the clippings help feed as well as increase organic matter in my heavy clay soil.

Funny story, this spring I came across about 75 lb of free, discarded weed n feed. I spread it on my rather large fescue lawn, not sure what setting to use but cranking my Scotts spreader to 8 on a scale of 20. It looked gorgeous and green, and I was so proud. Well it rained and it grew and it rained and it grew and kept on growing like an alien monster. :shock: I was about ready to rent some haying equipment. Needless to say I did some bagging because there was not way to use the mulching mower, and long clippings would smother the lawn. I hauled out the bagged leaves, wood shavings and whatever else I could find and made some compost.

But other than that, I leave em on the lawn.
Tox

rot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

bag and grab sometimes

..
When I'm mowing once a week I will mulch the grass clippings back into the lawn or grasscycle. When I'm real regular like that I will bag maybe every third time for compost or mulching something else.

I have been known to get lazy from time to time though. So when the grass gets long, I will bag and mulch other stuff or use in the compost bin.

I get grass clippings for mulching and composting from my neighbor. I can't seem to convince him to just grass cycle. His loss, my gain.

to sense
..

striperbware
Full Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:20 pm
Location: Beacon, NY

grass clippings

Grass clippings are my only source of compostable material, and I generate plenty. I get enough clippings to make 4 big compost piles at inside corners of my welded wire fencing. Some of it gets aged into true compost " black gold " but most gets used after about 2 months of aging - it is slimy, hot and has a very foul odor, and you can still recognize the blades of grass. Whatever it is called at this stage, when packed generously around tomato or any other plant, I get phenomenal results from it.

I have by most standards a very large garden at 1330 square feet with typically 9 different things growing. I don;t generate enough grass clippings to be totally organic, so the tomato, cantalope and cucumber get all the compost and are organic. The beans, beets, broccoli and corn get triple 10 fertilizer. I have not and will not ever put any herbicide or pesticide in my garden.
Old-school gardener who will never stop learning !

treehopper
Senior Member
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:43 pm
Location: Southeast MI

I am fortunate to have a neighbor who bags his grass...I get 2-3 wheelbarrows of clippings a week from his side. The day after he deposits the clippings on my compost pile(s) they are turned. As I turn the pile I add water as needed, and the pile eats everything. 25 to 30 minutes to turn and water, and all is right in my universe...
I started a compost pile, because I gardened. Now I find myself gardening, so I have someplace for my compost!!

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

Striper, the only thing going wrong with your grass composting is that the 'stink' represents loss of nitrogen in the form of ammonia and other gases given off by the anaerobic microbes at work. This is why most people mix browns with their grass. If it works for you, though, more power to ya.
Tox

striperbware
Full Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:20 pm
Location: Beacon, NY

Tox, thanks for the reply. What are browns and what function do they serve in compost ? Thanks.
Old-school gardener who will never stop learning !

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Browns are carbon heavy organic materials like straw, fall leaves, shredded paper etc (see https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9089) as opposed to "greens," the nitrogen heavy stuff like grass, coffee grounds, manure, etc. So you can see it is not about color.

The browns absorb odors, keep the pile from getting too wet, provide food for the micro-organisms that help the composting process and also feed the soil, break down slower, so keep the composting process steadier (like time-release medications). Browns help keep the organic nitrogen from escaping and aid in producing humus, so that your end product becomes humus rather than just broken down grass. Helps make sure your compost finished product is well balanced, has good tilth, and contains all the necessary nutrients.

I always cover greens with browns in my compost pile. I use them about 50 / 50 by volume, but it doesn't have to be exact. In winter when I have lots of fall leaves and fewer weeds, the pile tends to be more brown. In summer when the fall leaves are mostly used up and there's lots of weeds, it tends to be more green, but it works both ways.

Here's a composting 101 article:

https://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/composting-101
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

mmmfloorpie
Senior Member
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:21 am
Location: Ontario Canada

rainbowgardener wrote:Browns are carbon heavy organic materials like straw, fall leaves, shredded paper etc (see https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9089) as opposed to "greens," the nitrogen heavy stuff like grass, coffee grounds, manure, etc. So you can see it is not about color.

The browns absorb odors, keep the pile from getting too wet, provide food for the micro-organisms that help the composting process and also feed the soil, break down slower, so keep the composting process steadier (like time-release medications). Browns help keep the organic nitrogen from escaping and aid in producing humus, so that your end product becomes humus rather than just broken down grass. Helps make sure your compost finished product is well balanced, has good tilth, and contains all the necessary nutrients.

I always cover greens with browns in my compost pile. I use them about 50 / 50 by volume, but it doesn't have to be exact. In winter when I have lots of fall leaves and fewer weeds, the pile tends to be more brown. In summer when the fall leaves are mostly used up and there's lots of weeds, it tends to be more green, but it works both ways.

Here's a composting 101 article:

https://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/composting-101
Why browns on top?

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

They're much less likely to have a bad odor. Greens = nitrogen. Ammonia = NH3. Too much green in a compost heap can build up an ammonia odor. Having browns on top will help keep the odor (if there is any in the first place) from assaulting your nose. :)

Please do take a look at the thread rainbow recommended on greens and browns; there's a LOT of info in it, not just lists.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

What cynthia said! Throw my stinky pail of kitchen scraps on, then cover it with browns and instant no smell.

But also, it's just a way of alternating, making sure I have green-brown-green-brown layers. If I were not such a lazy gardener, I would mix them all together more often, but I just let gravity and the worms etc do it for me, mostly.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

I do a little bit of everything with my grass. Mulch, compost, let it fly. Depends on what needs what at the moment. I also scavange bagged grass and leaves from around town by the truckload and use them for mulch in the garden and compost.

estorms
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:04 pm
Location: Greenfield Township, PA

Growing up, we fed grass ensilage to our cows. It is chopped grass put into a silo. The first few days the smell is awful, but it calms down after a while. I put almost all the grass clippings on the compost pile. My garden takes priority over the lawn. I can always put some weed and feed on the lawn because I am not going to eat it. If you don't like the smell of two-day- old grass (it's bad) let it dry on the lawn, wait two days, set the cutting height on your mower at six inches, and go over it with the bagger. You get soft, dry grass. Very soft, fluffy, and smells good. I am all for doing everything the easy way. I pick up all the leaves the same way.
I haven't turned my compost piles in a while, (because of the snake I know is in there) but every time I think they won't hold any more, they settle and I can put more on. Wlhen I empty the kitchen scraps, I cover them with some grass so I won't have to look at eggshells and corn cobs.

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

I always keep leaves or wood shavings/sawdust in a wire bin next to the compost bin, to cover up kitchen scraps immediately. It keeps down the fruit files and other insects, and absorbs odors and nitrogen coming up out of the pile. I don't worry about it as much when adding an armload of pulled weeds or whatever, but kitchen scraps always get covered.
Tox

estorms
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:04 pm
Location: Greenfield Township, PA

That is such a good idea. I have thought of getting a load of sawdust from the sawmill up the road. I don't have much of anything but grass and The sawdust would allow me to make layers. My garden is 1500 square feet and my lawn is about an acre. We have another seven acres that has to be cleared.

toxcrusadr
Greener Thumb
Posts: 969
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: MO

storms, when you have a batch of grass clippings, it's actually better (IMHO) to mix with sawdust or other browns rather than layering. Esp. with grass which can mat down and repel water. When it's compost makin time at my house, I use a big tarp and layer clippings, bags of leaves, sawdust, a coffee can of wood ash, whatever. Then pull one corner over to flip the pile onto itself. Keep doing this in different directions till it's fairly well mixed. Then grab armfuls and sprinkle into the bin, and the mixing will be complete. You'll get great compost and fast heating.
Tox

Return to “Composting Forum”