Learning to Reuse & Compost Lawn Clippings Through Trial & Error

Written By: Guest Blog Post

When we moved from an apartment into our home in the Midwest, one of the things I was most excited about was breaking out the lawnmower and cutting the grass. That might sound odd to some people, but I enjoy being outside and experiencing the instant gratification of mowing the lawn while getting in a few thousand steps on my fitness tracker.

Since it was an exceptionally wet spring, the grass grew quickly and could not be mowed often enough to keep up with it. When we were able to cut the grass, we found ourselves with an abundance of grass clippings. As an active composter, I’m always looking for organic material to add to our GEOBIN® Composters, so I collected the clippings to be incorporated into our compost. When left uncollected, yard waste can be washed into storm drainage systems where it can get clogged and lead to flooding.

My original plan was to add some grass clippings to my active GEOBIN Composter and the rest to our second GEOBIN that held dry leaves from the previous fall. I quickly discovered that freshly cut grass on its own turns into a smelly pile of green slime in no time at all, so I decided to switch to plan B—reduce the amount of grass clippings I saved. I alternated collecting the clippings with mulching, which helped return some of the nutrients directly to the lawn.

Composting Is All About Balance

While I don’t strictly adhere to the recommended ratio of browns (carbon) to greens (nitrogen) in our GEOBIN Composter (25-30:1), I did want to stay relatively close to that recipe to accelerate decomposition and discourage odors.

After some trial and error, I realized I needed more browns to keep our pile balanced, so I decided to dry out our grass clippings. My husband and I have a small garden area, so we spread out the freshly cut grass clippings to dry. Once the deep green color of the grass had faded to a light tan color, we lightly raked the area to expose the greener material underneath. Once the entire batch had dried out, we added it to our active GEOBIN Composter, as well as to our second GEOBIN with the dried leaves. This worked very well, and we continued the process through this season.

To learn more about maintaining a balanced compost bin, check out our blog, “Breaking It Down: A Beginner’s Guide to Composting.”

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