The following is a guest post from Jakob Barry.
Weeding and trimming and raking, oh my! By fall homeowners are breathing a semi-sigh of relief as months of gardening, mowing the lawn, and pruning bushes and trees are about to come to an end. Yet, the final hurrah in the yard, the big exterior home clean up, is still imminent and depending on how serious you are it could produce a sizable amount of waste.
Of course, where one person sees trash another sees dollar signs. It’s all grass and branches and various types of clippings, but it’s useful organic material that could cut costs during next year’s growing season. I’ve been recycling yard clippings for years and find little need to purchase store-bought items that may sometimes seem inexpensive but in these economic times add up.
The focus for saving money in the yard points to two related types of activities that anyone can do: composting and mulching.
Composting is a great way to naturally discard organic matter, and it’s never too late to start because there’s always waste available. Whether vegetable scraps or brushwood, your garden’s growth will love the compost’s nutritional value, often producing robust, healthy plants. Your community will also benefit with less trash heading to the local garbage heap.
The more you compost the less fertilizer and other products you need to buy for the new growing season and your contribution to the environment is automatic.
Mulching is similar to composting and is usually associated with landscaping. In these tough economic times landscaping costs can easily get out of hand, especially when it comes to suppressing unwanted weeds and other growth. While pesticides are still on the market, alternative methods should be considered.
As with composting, your yard is a gold mine for producing self-made mulch. Bark, wood chips, leaves and grass clippings are everywhere, though various opinions on using grass clippings exist. If you’re transferring grass clippings to a vegetable or flower bed be sure they weren’t sprayed with pesticides, as this will be detrimental to the plants you love. Also, if the grass was full of weeds, you may be transferring those same weeds, giving them new life elsewhere.
If your grass clippings are pesticide and weed free and you are transferring them to a separate garden area to compost its best they are short, dry, and mixed with other organic matter in small amounts. Thicker and denser grass clippings work great layered around the base of tree roots bordering lawns, as they prevent different root systems from competing. All in all, in my gardening experience I’ve used grass clippings mixing them with other bark or branches for color variance and always had good results.
For the homeowner gardener and landscaper going into winter hibernation, budgeting for the next growing season can be as simple as looking around the yard and using the resources at hand. Not only is it creative, but it’s cheap and green.
Written by Jakob Barry. Jakob Barry is a writer at Networx.
See the image Creative Commons license here.