Don’t Mow – Let It Grow!


orchard herbal leyOnce the kids have gone and cricket games are no longer you may wish to pause and ponder the usefulness of your lawn.

If no compelling reason other than tidiness comes to mind, let me suggest you plant it up or let it go. Either way you’re adding to your homegrown mulch stash, improving the overall health of your garden and have one less job on Saturday. Indulge me here and my home grown mulch addiction – because there is no goodness like it. Hay (or simply long grass) is super nutritious. Add a bit of depth to your hay with nourishing plants like dandelion, chicory and plantain and your mulch goes next level.

Nuts and bolts

Everywhere you weed-eat, mow or (god forbid) spray is fair game. Simply let it grow long and luscious until you need mulch then lop it down in your chosen way, leaving a good 10cm stub behind for best health.There are a surprising amount of opportunities for homemade hay once your mind shifts its focus from tidy gardening to the wild-side. Gather little bits from here there and everywhere – let go the vision of a paddock full, and you’ll be amazed at the good value of my proposition.

My garden is too small

No my friend, it is not! Many of you in small space gardens dismiss this idea of growing your own mulch, thinking you have no room. The thing is there is no difference – small or large, the amount of space to grow the mulch is relative to the size of garden needing the mulch. We’re all in the same boat.

Benefits abound


Bees, butterflies and insects adore this kind of stomping ground. Our passion to nurture bees and indeed all life forms (don’t forget our friends beneath the soil), means we’ll all be making the leap and getting more wild/ less tidy, the more our understanding grows.

Left to grow, roots dive deep grasping the earth – strong!, enabling the soil to do a better job of holding water in a big rain.

Beneficial fungi and their companions gather beneath trees and spray free, wild areas and spread outward from there. A nutrient exchange network that boosts production and health 100 fold.

Growing your own means there is one less thing to buy – how cool is that! And along the way providing a pesticide free mulch for your garden – yes!

Blaze a trail

tamaki december

I cut a path to whatever fruit tree is being harvested. As well as a barrow load of best mulch, it makes for easy access to fallen fruits. I like it too because a surprising amount of people will just stand at the edge of long grass areas – a path invites them in.

When the tree finishes with its bounty, I let the meadow return and open a new path to the next ready tree. This regular supply of mulch is the bees knees.

You can apply this idea to your backyard by cutting a track to wherever it is you roam – the washing line, the chook house, the vegie patch, the driveway. Tracks make getting about easier and keeps legs dry when summer is wet like this one.

Fly in the ointment

You may have one – another half with firm ideas of lawn management. Fingers crossed you can meet halfway.

In the same way that we no longer iron clothes, we’ll soon stop all this mowing malarkey I’m sure. It’s such a strongly held belief so we must be patient with the believers all the while nudging them over to our side. 😋

A good next step is to mow a bit higher and get used to a more rustic look, besides longer lawns prevent many lawn weeds like Onehunga taking grip. Or have a play with leaving the lawn as long as possible before mowing. I feel a prize coming on for every centimetre!

Consider it a work in progress.

When meadow lawn doesn’t work

  • Hayfever is no fun and if one of your beloveds gets sneezy and itchy this wont work for you. In this instance turn your lawn into one of these gorgeous mulch providing gardens instead.
  • Bee allergies are compelling reasons to cut the lawn and lop off clover flowers.
  • High fire risk areas
  • Young kids at play. We used to play cricket in the lawn off the deck but the kids are nearly all grown and flown so we no longer need it. I’m gradually planting it up. Life is change and gardens evolve alongside our needs.