Thursday, June 1, 2017

Simple Suggestion #127 revisited... Fertilize your lawn with compost

On the May long weekend, when Lee and I installed two new raised bed boxes in our front yard, we got more compost than we needed to fill them. We didn't want to leave a pile of it sitting on our front boulevard, so Lee spread it on the grass around our yard, and two weeks later, we are definitely noticing the difference.

This picture gives you an idea of the difference compost has made in ten days. This piece of lawn is on the south side of our house, and the way the sun beats down between our house and the neighbours' has meant that our neighbours' lawn (which is shaded by their house) is always greener while ours fries in the sun. But with compost added, our side is greener than theirs this spring -- first time ever.

Above is a shadier spot where our neighbours' lawn meets ours. I can't get over the colour difference in the two lawns. The story is the same on the sunny city boulevard below... where the compost landed (clearly not spread in the straightest line) the difference is very noticeable!

no compost over here                                              compost sprinkled on this side
I know a lot of people who like to spread those tiny fertilizer pellets on their lawns just before a rainstorm, but compost is a much greener alternative, both literally and figuratively. There are no chemicals involved -- compost is composed of well-rotted plant matter that is safe to use for a light top-dressing anytime, whether it rains or not. Good compost offers a slow release of nutrients every time it rains. We spread ours and then it didn't rain for four days, but the rich, dark, crumbly humus was working its way down to the rhizomes as we walked around on it. And when it did rain... what a difference!

If you know me, you know I'm not a lawn fanatic -- I much prefer to see interesting flowers and shrubs rather than boring green monocultures that don't feed bees and butterflies or offer any kind of habitat for birds. In fact, I could be accused of grass neglect because I have never made the effort to fertilize a lawn in my life. But this year's extra compost turned our neglected lawn a rich and healthy green (and the dandelions are happier, too, of course). I've known about the benefits of using compost with my perennial and vegetable beds for a long time, but having some to spare for grassy places, I have been floored by how green our grass has become in just ten days and one good soaking rain!

The moral of the story? If you're someone who appreciates a great lawn, get rid of the chemical fertilizers and invest in a load of compost, or make your own from your plant-based kitchen scraps. Compost is better for our environment because it recycles plant matter to enrich our soil -- which is good for everything we grow!

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