For many in the world of Permaculture or Regenerative Agriculture or “Green Living”, having a lawn is a sin worthy of excommunication.
Five years ago, I wrote an article about how lawns cause a significant waste of time and resources. And I didn’t even dive into all the harmful chemicals used to maintain a lawn.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download
But now, five years later, I have a lawn.
Don’t worry, I have not converted to the dark side. I still know there are significant issues with lawns, and I am still not a big fan of them. However, the property that we bought has a large lawn. I have spent the last year trying to determine what to do with that lawn.
I have also realized that there is something deeper that draws us to lawns. I think it may have to do with how we are wired as humans. It may be the same with our attraction to savannas. We prefer some open spaces where we can see potential threats from a distance …but lets not get too deep in this article.
The lawn has provided a great, open place for our kids to run and play. This is obviously, and rightly, a great argument for having a lawn. Where else are you going to play soccer?!
We have also used our lawn to graze our sheep and pigs and ducks and geese and chickens. We don’t do much grazing on it now except for the free-range Guineas and chickens that occasionally make there way to the lawn.
We do not use any chemicals at all on the lawn. We don’t irrigate it either. We pretty much do nothing to it but mow it. But I am not one to waste a potential resource if I can help it, and grass clippings from a lawn are a great resource.
Here are some of our uses for the clippings:
1. We use it as supplemental feed for the animals. I routinely dump the fresh, clipped grass to our pigs and chickens and sheep. They love it. Fresh lawn hay!
2. I also use the clippings as a mulch. My father puts it in his garden, and I use it to cover bare soil along our fence line. There were a number of Eastern Red Cedar saplings that had grown up along the fence line over the years before we bought this property. The cedar needles fall from the trees and eventually kill most grasses. This is a great way for nature to convert a field to a forest, but that’s not what I want in my pastures. After we cleared the fence line of the cedars, we were left with many spots of bare soil. This is where I pile grass clippings. In time, the soil will come back to life and grasses will be able to grow there again.
3. As you can see in the photo at the top of the article, I spread the clippings over the driveway to dry. After a few days in the sun with occasional turnings, the clippings are nice and dry. I then use this in the poultry brooders. It works way better than straw; it’s more absorbent. And because it has thin strands, the little chicks or poults can easily navigate over it.
4. I have also used this dried lawn hay for supplemental feed for our animals as well.
I still plan on converting a large portion of our existing lawn to perennials (trees, shrubs, and wildflowers). But until then, we are going to treat the lawn as a resource.