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Old Grass cutting heap for compost??


 
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PatC
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 26 Apr 2011
Posts: 2
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:40 pm    Post subject: Old Grass cutting heap for compost?? Reply with quote

Hi

I've just built ten 4ft x 2ft planter box's to put around my garden.
I plan to fill them with a mix of top soil, compost and peat and plant a mix of veg and general garden flowers etc.
Over the past several years I've put the grass cuttings from my lawn in a heap in a corner behind my shed. It now measures about 4ft in any direction and about 4ft high.
I'm wondering if I can kill two birds with one stone and dig it out to use in the mix or if this would cause any problems for my plants? I've never used any chemicals on the grass and haven't put anything other than grass back there.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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walltoall
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Joined: 25 Aug 2008
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Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:04 pm    Post subject: grass cuttings heap Reply with quote

Firstly, PatC Welcome to the Irish Gardeners website. I notice it's your first post hopefully of many. You should root through your cut grass pile with a fork and see if it's loose and reasonable dry. I suspect you might have a solid wet mess if it is ONLY grass cuttings. Piles like this MUST get oxygen to decompose and this is usually provided by mixing other materials in from an early stage.

Even if it is a mess, it possibly could be used as a mulch to retain moisture around shrubs. But it may not be any use as a compost as it would be too specific. It's the variation of stuff that makes for good compost. I use ALL garden cuttings in mine along with grass mowings, shredded paper, kitchen peelings, a bit of garden soil, whatever is going, even an old rotten garden fence went into the current one. But grass mowings on their own I'm not sure about. Hang in there though for further responses, maybe much different to mine.

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michael brenock
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Joined: 12 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

walltoall you are as usual right on the ball and you have the correct approach to compost making. The grass mowings should be intermixed with other materials including kitchen waste and hedge trimmings. Grass mowings is an excellent addition to a compost heap.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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PatC
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Walltoall and Michael, thanks for the advice, its very much appreciated and unfortunately as I suspected. I was hoping to be rid of the pile and maybe build something in back there but I guess I'll need to get a skip for that. Anyway great to have somewhere I can ask questions and get friendly and knowledgeable answers as I'm only starting out. I've had this garden for 7 years but only have time to do anything to it now and of course I am trying to build Rome in a day and on a shoestring Smile
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again patC Don't get rid of the grass in a skip it is far too valuable to throw away, Dig a hole in the ground 4 feet square and put in a layer of the grass about 3-4 inches deep, followed by a layer of soil and then add more grass. The hole can be as deep as 2 feet and finish it about one foot over soil level. This mixture will be ideal for growing almost anything in about two years.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome, PatC. Grass cuttings, because of their characteristic, have, as the others have said, various uses.

As with any plant material, it has used nutrients from the soil which can be returned for new things to grow on via composting.

Mulching, also mentioned, helps keep moisture from evaporating but also stifles other things from growing through it, e.g weeds, and I regularly carpet my cabbage patch with a good covering of cuttings, through which I dib holes for the young plants to go in. By the end of the cropping season only the most persisitent weeds such as dandelions and docks have forced their way through. At dry times like we're having now, the cuttings might tend to blow around and smother the young brassica plants but, once they've had a good dose of rain (or hoseing), this problem disappears.

Finally, if you intend growing anything like marrows or runner beans that need a good supply of moisture, a generous helping of cuttings underneath the topsoil will act as a natural reservoir well beyond cropping.

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Rocky1
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all
i have the same problem so thanks for advise as well.
Rocki1
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