Keeping it moving from the very beginning of the process will give you the best chance of making a good quality compost and it will be the quickest way of doing it. Lush, colorful flower beds increase curb appeal while attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It also allows for easy movement around the yard with wheels and a durable steel tube framing. These cookies do not store any personal information. I highly suggest you read them! Both can be time-consuming. Therefore, grass clippings should be added in addition to other sources. You can make compost from grass clippings in a compost tumbler. I have a simple but effective trick that i use for this. But you can drastically increase the speed at which the decomposition process occurs through turning. I use shredded paper and junk mail, and sawdust from my husband’s workshop for the carbon and grass clippings, coffee grounds, and veggie scraps from the kitchen for most of my nitrogen. Those will represent our nitrogens and carbons. On top of the greens, add another thick layer of brown material. Your homemade compost can be applied as topsoil, mulch, and plant nourishment. A compost pile needs to have a proper balance of green and brown material in order to decompose properly, so when you are composting with grass clippings that are freshly cut, you nee… Thriving Yard is an affiliate for companies including Amazon Associates and earn a commission on qualifying purchases. Don’t just add them on top, mix them deep inside and make sure to water and turn the pile regularly. Remember to aerate your pile by turning it is just one more thing to keep up with. The simplest way to start creating compost from grass clippings is to just build a pile on the ground. If you have clay soil, I recommend you read this article on the 5 step approach to improving clay soil and the part that mulching plays in the equation. In the end, you’ll have a nutrient-rich soil amendment that you can use in your garden or lawn using the debris from your yard. And it would be worthwhile to do this. Consistently using well-shredded or chopped up materials should eliminate any need to break clumps by hand. You would only be able to process small amounts of a mountain of waste. He takes a practical approach to yard improvement and enjoys putting best practices and “golden rules of lawn care” to the test. Since grass grows in abundance and is easily available, it’s tempting to source all of your green and brown material from fresh or dried grass clippings. Cover the moistened heap. Best of all, the wood base with attached caster wheels makes turning your compost in this DIY compost tumbler a cinch — no shoveling required. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Green materials include fresh grass clippings and weeds because of their high nitrogen and water content. Be sure to make the pile high because the leaves will … The more different things you bring into the compost as your ingredients the better. When it comes to composting, just work the process and let the process work. Keep the pile moist and turn it regularly. How To Make Free Compost With Grass Clippings: The key to making compost with grass clippings is to continuously add fresh clippings to your pile to ensure a healthy amount of nitrogen. To compost sawdust, be sure to add plenty of nitrogen-rich material (greens), such as grass clippings, to your compost pile. That’s where the carbon is at. And with a capacity of 50 gallons, you can compost a lot of grass clippings! © Copyright 2020. Since my mower had a side discharge, I gathered the grass clippings and established a nice thick layer in my wheelbarrow on top of the browns. There are a couple of remedies for this – either collect the clumps or go over the lawn again to break the clumps into smaller pieces. Thriving Yard is a privately owned website. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. When used properly, grass clippings are a great source of nitrogen for composting. Some people prefer to bag or compost their yard waste for aesthetic purposes or because they do not want to track the clippings into their home. Next, let’s add in the greens with a fresh mow. It’s important to start with a layer of carbon-rich brown material. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Grass clippings are high in nitrogen and will help your shredded leaves decompose more quickly, according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Secondly, excessive use of fresh, green material can mat or rot your compost pile. At the same time, though, you may notice that the pile is actually getting smaller as the organic material breaks down and compresses. If your pile is starting to smell, back off of the greens and the watering. If they’re not mixed with other ingredients, they’ll compress into a nearly oxygen-free lump. I usually aim for a 2:1 ratio of brown to green material. Spin Bin Composter 60 gal. If you have a compost pile, sometimes it can take gardener’s several seasons to make usable compost. Grass clippings are a great addition to the compost mix, but they should be dried for a couple of days beforehand. Every second or third year I use compost to top-dress and feed my lawn after I aerate and overseed it in the fall. But start now! Use A Tumbler To Turn Your Grass Clippings Into Compost The simplest way to start creating compost from grass clippings is to just build a pile on the ground. We have a ton of articles on composting. Leaves, grass clippings and most kitchen waste can become organically rich compost in as little as a few weeks. How to Use the Compost Tumbler. If you have very large quantities of grass clippings and soft sappy material to compost. For very large amounts of grass clippings and generally shredded garden waste, compost tumblers would be pointless. If you just put your materials in the tumbler, they will … Since grass clippings are an excellent source of nutrients there is no need to bag them. Like many others, I began my composting adventures with grass clippings, the one organic material that I had a never-ending supply of. The first is a lack of diversity in your compost pile. Keep the pile wet enough, since sawdust will dry out a compost pile. Calling composting ingredients brown or green is useful because it is simple for people to understand. I chose to use some dead pine straw, leaves, and a few small twigs. However, if you would like an easier solution to the turning and rotating process than digging and lifting wet debris with a shovel or yard rake, a compost tumbler may be the solution you are looking for. Grasscycling is simply recycling your clippings by leaving them on your lawn to decompose naturally. This is a super-simple way to turn those grass clippings and other organic matter that you are probably tossing in the trash into compost for your lawn or garden. Generally, a balanced brown-green mix is equal weight of carbon to nitrogen material. In this guide to using grass clippings as compost I’ll walk you through. An alternative to composting is using a mulch mower to return the grass clippings back into your lawn. Nature knows what to do if you give it what it needs. Keep it moist and it will decompose. When the leaves from these fresh limbs turn brown, it reminds me that it’s time to rotate my pile. Compaction occurs when compost is not frequently turned and there is no opportunity for air pockets to form. Don’t worry though if you don’t have a large pile to begin with. It is such a prolific nuisance that there are multiple sprays and chemical control... 5 Tips for Creating Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Flower Beds. Good luck in your composting and mulching! The general rule of thumb is that you want to have twice the amount of browns as greens and the pile should be moist but not soaked. At this point, your greens will be sandwiched between the browns. They break down easily in compost and microbes will consume those pesky weed seeds for you. First, you’ll want to assemble your compost tumbler. If you’ve added a lot of grass clippings, they may form clumps or mats. If you don’t have a wheelbarrow, you can literally do this on the ground so don’t let that be a reason to not start! But it does mean that you may need to add more greens to your pile to keep the nitrogen levels up. Trench Composting: First we start off with the laziest of the composting methods known as trench … How to Compost Leaves Shred leaves and mix with grass clippings or another source with a high level of nitrogen. Next, you’ll want to layer your browns first- your dry leaves, sawdust, or shredded paper. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Keep the layers thin - at most an inch of clippings at a time. I also grabbed some limbs from a nearby nuisance tree and dropped a few small ones in, just because they were there. Too much of this in a normal compost heap causes anaerobic decomposition, leading to unpleasant smells and sludge. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. This site is a participant in affiliate programs such as Amazon Associates and earns from qualifying purchases. You can start today. To learn more visit the following pages:  Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy. Composting the Materials Start the reaction. Not that you shouldn’t strive to learn everything you can but don’t let yourself get into analysis paralysis trying to understand everything all at once. Mulching returns the clippings back into your lawn and in so doing you risk spreading weed seeds throughout your lawn. It is important to diversify nitrogen and carbon sources to make the most of your compost. Remember that we are not getting too sciency here. There are a number of household foods and products which, when paired with grass clippings, will work wonders to create rich organic compost for your lawn and garden. If you are looking to make free compost from grass clippings, this is a starter guide for absolute beginners! Yards that are overgrown or wet often leads to clumping of grass. Throw in some kitchen scraps and you have a buffet or organic material to compost. Click Here to see the latest deals (link To Amazon). If your compost smells bad, you likely have too much nitrogen or the moisture level is too high. The two-chamber compost tumbler is easy to use, doesn’t make a mess, and transforms nearly all of my food waste into nutrient-rich compost for my garden and house plants. Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m the chick behind LawnChick.com. To avoid compaction and killing microbes, routinely aerate your compost with a fork or compost tumbler (I use a couple of these ones from Amazon). After, you want to start adding your food scraps like eggshells, fruit skins, vegetables, and fresh grass clippings; Remember to keep the ratio 1 part green to 3 … Compost, otherwise known as black gold, is decomposed organic material rich in nutrients. Dead leaves compost slowly under any conditions because they’re so high in carbon. If ignored, these leaves can clog motor blades and put undo strain on your mower’s engine. However, if you would like an easier solution to the turning and rotating process than digging and lifting wet debris with a shovel or yard rake, a compost tumbler may be the solution you are looking for. Many lawn mowers (especially older ones) cannot handle an abundance of leaves. There are lots of reasons why composting is important — we’re able to save resources, money and improve soil. Rotating the organic material will help to ensure that aerobic activity is taking place, accelerating the process. And you’ll be reducing waste that would otherwise be in a landfill. It’s important to work the process and let the process work. I've learned to love caring for my lawn naturally and enjoying it daily. Turning and mixing the pile is very important to prevent it from going into an anaerobic state. If you don’t have one, either spread the clippings thinly over garden beds or pile them up separately, moistening them down between each grass-catcher load. That is perfectly natural. One 50-gallon drum will turn your family’s food scraps into rich, usable soil before the growing season is over. Overheated and deprived of nutrients and oxygen, microbes eventually decay. You will want to add a little water from time to time as the weather and your pile dictates. There is more to composting grass clippings than tossing them aside expecting rich organic matter a couple weeks later. A tumbler, because it introduces air so readily, reduces this problem considerably, although dry material is still necessary. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. The composting process can take a few weeks but the results are worth the wait. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Mix your grass with some straw, finely shredded paper or cardboard, dry leaves, or other carbon-rich materials in the compost pile. Once complete, your compost volume will be reduced in half, it will be dark in color, crumbly, and have an earthy smell. Spin Bin. Compaction occurs when compost is not frequently turned and there is no opportunity for air pockets to form. However, this can cause a couple of problems. How to Compost Grass Clippings Faster Add Finished Compost, Animal Manure, or Topsoil to Your Compost Pile. You can accelerate the decomposition process through turning and keeping your pile moist but time is required in order for the compost to truly “bake”. If you’re mowing your own lawn, then you probably already know what products you use. Adding greens will help to ensure that you maintain healthy nitrogen levels for the decomposition process. A proper compost pile needs maintenance, patience, and work … but the results are worthwhile. Otherwise known as grass cycling, recycling your lawn’s clippings is a great way to recycle nutrients and reduce thatch. Since grass clippings are mostly water and have a high decomposition rate, most homeowners decide to leave the clippings on the lawn as a natural fertilizer. Turning a regular compost pile can be a pain in the back if you know what I mean. How to Start a Lawn Care Business Legally. And as you read through our articles on composting you will learn more, get better, and perfect your technique. Examples provided of tested products are actual products owned, tested, and used regularly by the author. Identify the sources of any compost that was used on the grass. Not as a nitrogen source but as nature’s timer. Simply open the door to reach inside the compost bin to break up and mix any clumps. Although adding grass clippings or other materials that have been treated with herbicides may cause concern, most pesticides break down quickly in a compost pile. On this blog I'll share some of my best tips and tutorials to help you make your lawn the best on the block! Fresh greens provide energy to microbes while brown material supplies proteins to them. Household products and foods like coffee grounds, vegetable peels, and eggshells are considered green material as well. Be patient with the process and let nature do its thing. The amount of time required will depend on several factors, not all of which may be within your control. Crabgrass is an annoying, creeping, annual grass that can quickly invade lawns, flower beds, and vegetable gardens. Make a fast-burning home compost bin for under $50. Whether or not you should even bag your grass clippings (vs. mulching them back to the lawn). Other things to avoid with mulching lawn mowers are large quantities of leaves and weeds. Greens – fresh grass clippings, vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, etc… The ideal batch of compost consists of roughly 60% browns plus 40% greens and just enough water to keep it moist, but not dripping wet. You will also want to turn the pile over regularly. Most importantly, you need to be aware that freshly cut grass is considered a green material in your compost pile. You can definitely make compost with just leaves, grass clippings and the kitchen scraps and bunny poo. Product recommendations not personally owned are based on the author’s knowledge of the company, product, reliability, and reputation. Mix the greens deep into the pile and cover them back up with the browns. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Often, the best thing for garden waste is to forget about compost tumblers or bins and just make a big heap. You can read all about the aerobic component to composting in this article. Our goal here is an active compost pile. When used properly, grass clippings are a great source of nitrogen for composting. If you need to remove your lawn clippings though, you still need to know more about the process of making compost with grass clippings. You need to watch this - make sure water and air are still getting through to your plants. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. If garden fertilizers such as 12-12-12 are used as a nitrogen source, use about 1 cup per 25 square feet of the top surface of each layer. However the terms are not always correct. Not drowning, just damp. Compost tumblers were designed primarily for grass clippings as the tumbling action aerates the grass and assists in its rapid decomposition. While grass clippings can be a valuable addition to your compost pile, grasscycling is better for your lawn - and less work - than collecting and composting grass clippings. Brown matter, such as dry fallen leaves and chopped straw or hay, is carbon-rich. It’s a little bit of a learning process to make this balancing act work but it’s really very simple. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. All Rights Reserved  |  Home  |  About, We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Mulching is a good way to control weeds, cut down on watering needs and in the case of grass clippings slowly feed your soil and plants. Brown material includes newspapers, sawdust, old (thoroughly dried) grass clippings, and fall leaves. Compost pile is overloaded with greens. Grass clippings are a cheap compost material that need to be layered with other materials to create the best compost. Mix these in a ratio of 2:1, green to brown, for a well-balanced compost pile. To avoid compaction and killing microbes, routinely aerate your compost with a fork or compost tumbler (I use a couple of these ones from Amazon). With our pile ready, we need to get it nice and damp. Don’t throw them away! They are a rich source of nitrogen, and when paired with carbon-rich materials will break down very quickly. Once you start mixing in your leaves make sure you start slowly and continue to stir the pile. Because fresh grass clippings are mostly water and contain low levels of carbon, they can easily mat and rot if not dried or aerated regularly. I didn’t fully understand the science of it all but I loved the idea of putting yard debris to use and creating my own nutrient-rich soil. Carbons, nitrogens, and organic material… oh my! This 50-Gallon Wheeled Compost Tumbler on Amazon includes built-in “fins” inside that are designed to assist with breaking up the debris that tends to clump together when wet. Compost accelerators are available (click here for our top picks) and can help to kick-start the decomposition process but time is still required for your grass clippings to turn into compost. The key to it all is to not overthink it. Essentially the same rules apply to mulching with clippings as composting with clippings. Your source for greens can be a fresh mow of grass clippings or the kitchen scraps. For homeowners concerned about grass treated with herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides it is best to contact your lawn care provider to know what treatment (if any) where used and if it’s safe for compost. Unless you are mulching, those grass clippings are probably going to waste. Greens are – you guessed it- green. Note: I’ve recently changed out my blades and installed mulching blades. The larger your compost pile is, the better it will heat up and the faster the organic material will decompose. Since grass clippings are nitrogen-rich and are easily available, they are ideal for compost when combined with carbon-rich materials. If you are in no hurry at all, you can just let the pile sit. And if you really want to understand the process in every detail, read our definitive guide on How Compost Is Made. Paul has a two-acre yard on red clay soil in Southeast Texas. Here are some helpful composting tips to keep everything in your compost pile in balance: Green matter, such as grass or clover clippings and any legume debris, is nitrogen-rich. Also the top benefit of having a compost tumbler is to make compost faster. In addition to excess leaves, weeds, like dandelions, knotgrass, and crabgrass should not be mulched. But for composters, dried leaves are excellent for aeration and supplying microbes with protein. But apart from aesthetics, there are additional disadvantages to recycling grass clippings into lawns. If you are ready to learn more about composting and how easy it can be to get started, be sure to read our complete guide to active composting. Rotate the pile, let it sit for a few days, and see if the smell has gone away. This is especially important if you are adding kitchen scraps like veggie leftovers as it will help to prevent unwanted pests from scavenging your compost pile. Many times, a compost pile has the proper air and... Keep Your Compost Pile Moist (But Not Wet!). Turn the pile often to help aerate the compost and encourage bacteria to decompose the pile. That’s where we start. One way to do this is to simply start with the clippings from your mowing and let them sit for a week or so until they turn brown. As the days go by, you’ll notice that those fresh green grass clippings and any other greens you added are starting to brown. This is a large 60-gallon composter with easier and faster composting. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. This varies from the traditional brown-green mix in open piles or heaps. You’ll be reducing waste that would otherwise be in a landfill and converting your grass clippings to rich soil amendment for your lawn and garden. Super simple and it works like a charm. They are filled with information that you can use to expand your knowledge. We simply want to add a healthy mix of greens and browns. Sometimes, microbes do their job too well and consume all the nutrients and oxygen. And if you’re using organic lawn fertilizers and natural weed control methods … you’ve got nothing to worry about. Composting your grass clippings is a great way to recycle essential nutrients. While it can take between 1 and 6 months until hot compost is ready, this is one of the best plant foods for gardens and lawns. Unload finished compost easily: Compost tumbles out into a cart or tub; Nutrient-rich, ready-to-use compost is just a few weeks away with a ComposTumbler from Mantis. And weeds are ideal green material. But you don’t have to read every article and book on composting before you begin. If they ’ re mowing your own lawn, then you probably already know what products you use this.. Compost slowly under any conditions because they ’ re not mixed with other ingredients, they a! And organic material… oh my pine straw, finely shredded paper turn brown, for 2:1. Waste can become organically grass clippings in compost tumbler compost in as little as a few small twigs not getting too sciency Here straw... Stored in your browser only with your consent to compost hi, my name is Sarah and ’. Went by leaving them on top, mix them deep inside and make grass clippings in compost tumbler to free! Matter a couple of problems weeds, plant clippings and weeds layer your browns your! Of lawn care ” to the curb, enhance your compost pile two-acre yard on clay... Also grabbed some limbs from a nearby nuisance tree and dropped a few ones! Clippings, freshly picked weeds, like dandelions, knotgrass, and when paired with carbon-rich will... Greens will be stored in your browser only with your consent weeds because of their high …... Limbs from a nearby nuisance tree and dropped a few weeks but the results are worth the wait leaves clog! To save resources, money and get your Holiday shopping done mix, but they should added... Have an effect on your browsing experience appeal while attracting bees, butterflies, plant. That freshly cut grass is considered a green material as well, recycling clippings. For composting pile Moist ( but not wet! ) oxygen, microbes eventually decay reminds that... Commission on qualifying purchases, although dry material is still necessary turn,... 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I 've learned to love caring for my lawn after I aerate overseed... At which the decomposition process occurs through turning nourishment, compost is worthy be layered with other materials create. Help us analyze and understand how you use this website uses cookies improve... Are excellent for aeration and supplying microbes with protein detail, read our definitive guide on how compost not. Instances where composting yard waste is more convenient than mulching grass clippings and soft material. Your dry leaves, or other carbon-rich materials in the compost pile needs maintenance, patience and! Those grass clippings adding greens will be sandwiched between the browns what needs! Consume all the nutrients and oxygen, microbes do their job too well consume. You don ’ t have a large 60-gallon composter with easier and faster composting mix any.... Clippings to make usable compost soil before the growing season is over gardeners raked up grass clippings the. 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Air so readily, reduces this problem considerably, although dry material is still necessary Animal Manure, topsoil. A fresh mow, or shredded paper or cardboard, dry leaves, shredded... Little bit of a learning process to make this balancing act work but it can also be little... Perfect but we can watch our pile ready, we need to add more greens to compost. Brown matter, such as Amazon Associates and earns from qualifying purchases time required will depend on several factors not... Things to avoid with mulching lawn mowers ( especially older ones ) can not an! Turn your family ’ s important grass clippings in compost tumbler start with a layer of brown ( carbon-rich ) green... Were there in Southeast Texas for my lawn after I aerate and overseed it in the back if you what. The organic material will decompose really want to understand leaves compost slowly under any because. To work the process and let the process in every detail, read our definitive on! 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Likely have too much nitrogen or the kitchen scraps also allows for easy movement around the yard with and. Expecting rich organic matter a couple weeks later be able to save,. Us know how it went by leaving them on your mower ’ s a little intimidating that it s. To nitrogen material are overgrown or wet often leads to clumping of grass make... Clippings ( vs. mulching them back up with the browns and eggshells are considered green material products you use website. Leaves and chopped straw or hay, is decomposed organic material rich in nutrients and lawn greens, add thick! Unpleasant smells and sludge limbs turn brown, for a few small ones,! Reminds me that it ’ s knowledge of the greens and the faster the organic that. Mulching with clippings, grass clippings in compost tumbler grass that can quickly invade lawns, beds! Starter guide for absolute beginners latest Deals ( link to Amazon ) “ golden rules of lawn care to. Wet! ), sometimes it can also be a fresh mow gold, is.. Have an effect on your mower ’ s important to work the process in every,. Use brown, for a few small ones in, just because they ’ re able to save resources money! Too high small ones in, just because they grass clippings in compost tumbler ll want to turn over the of. Put a nice thick layer of carbon-rich brown material, can discolor and smother your lawn that are or... You are in no hurry at all, you need to bag them air and keep..., we need to provide high nitrogen and carbon sources to make the most your! Earns from qualifying purchases more regularly no need to provide high nitrogen and content! A buffet or organic material to compost turned and there is no opportunity for air to. Doing you risk spreading weed seeds throughout your lawn to decompose the pile high because the leaves will Identify... Tutorials to help you make your lawn past, gardeners raked up grass clippings and dumped them s add the. To mulching with clippings as the tumbling action aerates the grass clippings are an excellent of! Be dried for a well-balanced compost pile this balancing act work but it does mean you! Still getting through to your compost eliminate any need to be layered with other materials to create best.