composting mown grass

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Judy in IN, May 10, 2005.

  1. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would like to break down the grass that I've been mowing. I've been dumping it under two huge hemlock trees to cover the bare ground there. If I top dress it with bone meal and add fine ground mulch over it, will that help it along in the process?

    My objective is to improve the soil, and hide the bare spots around the trees.
     
  2. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Well-Known Member

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    You need a 30 to 1 carbon/nitrogen ratio to make compost. bone meal typically is about 2-12-2 as fertilizer. Also because it is a complex mix, these fertilizer sources are released slowly. To make grass break down in a hurry, mix in urea 45-0-0 at the 30 to 1 ratio by weight. Will only take a couple pounds for a big pile of grass. Water the pile throughly and cover. This will heat up in a hurry, to help it along lay drainage pipe ( slotted not solid) every foot in height of the pile. This keeps the pile from overheating and give you a pathway to keep the middle of the pile moist.
     

  3. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    I’m not sure that adding urea to green grass clippings will help that much. Grass is high nitrogen green matter that holds water well to start with. Urea does help brown matter like leaves and straw break down quickly.

    The easiest way I’ve found to compost raw grass clippings is to hot-compost in a wire cage. This means out in the sun. This allows the clippings to dry out, which is the biggest problem. The pile will get hot, but it is light and easy to turn.

    The other option is to cut in brown matter like leaves or strawbales. This is what I do in my garden compost pile. Each fall, I take the pick-up into town and collect “yard waste” bags full of leaves and toss them in my “leaf bin” – two 6’ sided composters. When I mow, I fork about a foot of wet and soaky leaves from the leaf bin into the compost bin, then dump the grass clippings on top. Then I fork another foot of leaves onto that. By the time I move a pick-up bed worth of leaves into the compost bin, it’s been most of the summer, and my pile is nicely layered and cooking. I turn it in August usually, and the lowest layers have usually vermicultured very nicely – it looks like black and wormy soil. The middle has cooked to compost, and the top provides broken down rough organics. I spread this on top of my beds for the winter time, and till it in during spring preparation.
     
  4. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Sounds to me like you've got a shade and perhaps a pH problem more than you have a nutrient problem. How is dumping the grass clippings going to help?

    .....Alan.
     
  5. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Alan,

    I'm sure the area is acidic, just from the presence of the evergreens. They are about 40 ft tall, so they've been there awhile. I want to put two beehives under there, so I won't have to mow around them, and it will help the hives stay cool. I'm open to suggestions. So the green grass, additive(urea?), mulch idea won't work?
     
  6. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Lime or wood ashes would help with the pH if that is a problem, but how much shade are you getting on that area? If it's a lot then you'll need to look for shade tolerant plants because there is no grass that I know of that will take a lot of shade.

    .....Alan.
     
  7. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Alan,
    I don't want grass or plants there--I am happy to have a place where I don't have to mow around my beehives. It's just that the bare area doesn't look too good. I was originally going to put bark mulch down, but now I have this mown grass, so I thought it would help cover until I get the mulch. I'm picking the mulch up on Saturday.

    It would be a nice place to compost (I thought) but maybe not?
     
  8. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jerry Baker's books recomend this for a compost activator:

    1 c. ammonia
    1 can beer
    1 can REGULAR cola
    1 c. dish soap
    All in 1 gal. hot water and spray it over the pile


    Yes, lawn clippings a re good for the soil as long as they aren't bringing in weed killers, etc. I put mine carefully all around my berries, in the garden, around flowers, etc. Just don't put it freshly cut too close to a plant because the heat it makes decomposing make kill the plant....(voice of experience :waa: )
     
  9. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    OOOOO! Thanks so much, Ann Mary! There aren't any poisons on this grass, so I should be alright. Now I'll have to invest in some beer.....and Coca Cola, I suppose..and me a Pepsi girl. :rolleyes: I'll try the spray thing before I cover it with mulch.
     
  10. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    To the Jerry baker recipe I forgot to add and SHOULD have for those of us who aren't beer drinkers....he says that it's the enzymes in the beer that do the 'trick" so you can substitute 1 oz. saliva for the beer...yes, saliva.. :rolleyes: other places he says regular yeast will work as well.
    Happy composting! :)
     
  11. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    Dumping beer in Compost. :waa: :waa: Sorry but that sounds like alcohol abuse to me. I just couldn't do that :haha: :haha: :haha:
     
  12. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I listened to a guy describing how much he enjoyed drinking beer and fishing once. I had to admit that if I had to drink beer to fish, I'd give up fishing.....and I LOVE to fish! I just don't understand how people get past the taste.

    An OUNCE of saliva? :p I'd have to drool a LOT! I'll spring for the beer.
     
  13. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I notice you're in Indiana. Is there any particular reason you want your bees in the shade? It's best to have them in morning sun so they can warm up and get going earlier in the morning. Daytime and afternoon shade would be nice, though.
     
  14. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you've noticed I'm in IN, then you know how HOT beehives get! I'm placing the hives far enough south in the shade pattern to get sunshine on the landing board, but hopefully shaded in the summer. As the sun drops in the winter, it should catch the entire hive. Anyway, that's my plan.