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Tips on Composting Your Grass Clippingsfrom: Lawn and Garden Magic
Composting your grass clippings isn't a difficult task, although it could require more work than you may think. However, these clippings can sometimes create problems in your compost pile if it isn't properly composted. If you take some simple precautions, you'll prevent your grass from becoming a smelly, slimy mess.
Grasscycling is the easiest way to handle with your grass clippings. With grasscycling, you simply leave the grass clippings on the lawn. If you leave grass clippings where they fall on the lawn, they'll act like any natural fertilizer. This will save you money buying fertilizer as well as the time it takes to bagging and removing the grass cuttings.
Any grass mower can become a grasscycler -- simply remove the grass catcher from your lawn mower. Mow your lawn when the grass is dry to prevent old clippings from clogging up your lawn mower and keep the blade of your mower sharp. Let the grass clipping lie like this is the easiest way to deal with them, though it may not be practical if you have young children or pets.
Freshly trimmed grass has more moisture and a much higher nitrogen level than most other garden materials. Freshly mowed grass often clumps together, which can be a problem because there's no room for oxygen to get in. If you compost your grass clippings this way, you may find that it causes a serious odor problem. If you heed the following process, you should be able to reap the benefits of adding fresh grass clippings to your compost while avoiding odor problem. Grass can also develop a white mold if there's no air getting in.
To start, you should add high carbon materials (also called browns) to your compost pile. These materials include wood chips, leaves and broken up sticks. By adding browns to your compost, you'll prevent the grass clippings from clumping up the compost this helps oxygen circulate. Alternate your layers -- a layer of grass clippings and then a layer of browns.
You can also get the oxygen in your compost pile circulate by aerating it. Oxygenating or aerating your compost pile requires the turning of the material. If you're going to add grass clippings to your pile, then make sure you're aerating your compost pile regularly. If your pile is made mainly of grass clippings, there's nothing for the gas to ignite and the pile turns into a disgusting, slimy mess.
If you're going to compost your grass clippings on an ongoing basis, you'll end up with more grass clippings than other materials in your compost pile. Therefore, you might want to have multiple compost piles. You'll go through a process all summer where you're rotating between the piles and then consolidating them as they become more manageable.
If you don't want to have two or three compost piles on the go, try baking your grass clippings in the sun for a day before adding them. You can spread them on your driveway or any other flat surface for a day to prevent the clippings from souring up your compost pile.
If you've recently applied pesticides or herbicides to your lawn, don't add those grass clippings to your compost pile until some rain has washed them clean. You must to be careful about adding clippings that have come in contact with any type of chemicals.
Another tip is to add lime to your compost pile (or grass heap if it's mainly made up of grass). This should kick start the decomposing process and prevent mold from forming and your pile from developing a bad odor.
By following these guidelines you should have no problem turning your old grass clippings into compost that will benefit your entire garden.
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