Monday, June 13, 2016

Slimy pile or rich resource?

How do tenants dispose of lawn clippings?  Does your property have the classic pile of grass and weeds, and probably rubbish mixed in, in the corner of the section, up against the fence?  If the answer is yes, guess what?  Your fence is going to rot, and you will get more rubbish, more slimy grass, and more pests at your property as they burrow and breed in the slimy heap.

What can landlords do about it?  Well, we can ask tenants, tell tenants, show tenants, but we can’t force them to do the right thing.  I find it is often better to make it so easy to do the right thing, the wrong thing is too hard to bother with.  

Grass clippings and garden waste are a valuable resource and a good source of fertility for your soil.  If like me you’d rather not spend money on fertilizer and removing waste, but rather efficiently combine the two, try this.  

At your property build a compost bin (open at the bottom so earthworms can munch on the goodies within) or a raised garden bed of at least 1 cubic meter of capacity.  If there is a lot of lawn to mow, and so a lot of clippings, make the boxes bigger.  Locate them near trees you want to feed and make healthy (e.g. fruit trees), and encourage tenants to put clippings and veggie scraps there.  Your trees will thrive and you’ll no longer suffer the slimy pile by the fence.

For advanced compost management, tenants can add coffee grounds, small twigs, leaves, poop from their pet rabbit or guinea pig, cardboard and paper, and ash and lime.  I find most people have no idea about gardening though, so if they don't have a natural inclination and curiosity in this area, don't encourage creative composting. It will just become a rubbish pile, exactly what you were hoping to avoid in the first place.  Stick to the lawn clippings, and they shouldn't go too far wrong.

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