If you are new to polytunnel gardening then one of the most vital lessons that you should learn is the importance of making the most of the natural resources that are available to you. It is important to garden organically and to use so-called ‘waste’ materials to your advantage. Grass clippings from your lawn are an important resource. While they are often simply thrown away, grass clippings can be very useful in your polytunnel garden. Here are some of the ways in which you can use them wisely in your polytunnel:
Add Mown Grass To Your Compost Heap
One of the easiest and most simple ways to gain the benefit of the high nitrogen content and other nutrients available in the grass is to put it on your compost heap. You should, however, always make sure that you add it in thin layers, separated by cardboard or other carbon-rich materials. If you add grass clippings in too large a volume and do not mix them into your compost then they can end up a sludgy, slimy mess. Layer with cardboard waste from your home, however, and you will create a good, balanced compost that can be used to enrich the soil in your polytunnel growing areas next spring.
Use Lawn Clippings As A Mulch
Lawn clippings can also aid your soil when placed directly on it. When dried out on the lawn and then spread around your polytunnel vegetable beds, grass will act as a useful mulch. Be sure to spread it in thin layers and only around sturdy plants that want a nitrogen boost. Grass that is too thick or wet can become a hiding place for slugs during the day, though a thinner layer will not have this problem but will still help to retain moisture in the soil and feed the plants.
Make A Liquid Feed From Lawn Clippings
Another way to release the goodness from grass is to turn it into a liquid feed. To do this, simply choose a large butt, barrel, drum or bin, place the grass (and any weeds you have) within and cover with water. Cover, and allow the mix to rot down for a few days. Water soluble nutrients will leach into the water making a useful nitrogen rich feed. The benefit of this method is that after two or three days (no longer) when you drain off the feed for use in the garden, you can still add the grass to your compost heap.
What do you so with the grass you mow from your lawn? Let us know in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.