I love my ornamental grasses in my front yard. They provide me with constant movement from my front window. When I look across the street to the typical lawn, I am deeply reassured of our decision to get rid of our grass. These grasses are beautiful at all times of year. They sway back and forth in the wind and even look beautiful when they turn brown. I look outside my window and know my yard is full of life. Plus I get the added satisfaction of knowing that I only have to tend to these plants a few times a year whereas my neighbors are out mowing their lawns every week!
So it pained me the other day to have to give them a hair cut. As you can see from the pictures that the seed buds are starting to form and although these grasses are beautiful, I learned from last year that if you let them seed you get new plants growing everywhere in your yard. Time for a hair cut.
Don’t worry, these grow back super fast. The neighborhood cat came to check on my work this morning. She likes to hid in the grasses so I am sure she was upset that her afternoon nap spot was taken. She will have her hiding space back in no time. Also another good sign were the dozens of ladybugs I found hiding in the base of each plant.
One principle of permaculture that I am trying to follow is, “Produce no Waste.” Christopher Shein writes in The Vegetable Gardener’s Guild to Permachulture,
One of the great things about a permaculture garden is that there isn’t any waste. Instead, we find ways to re-use the leftovers from our gardening efforts.
One way we do this is by using the “chop and drop” method of permaculture. This means that when you are trimming bushes, trees or other foliage in your yard you simply chop up and drop the clippings straight onto the ground. Think of it as the lazy woman’s form of gardening. The trimmings will decompose and give back to the health of the soil.
Back to the haircut.
Let’s say I was super organized. Then I would have cut my grasses back before the seed heads started forming. This way I could ensure that no new plants would be springing up all over my garden. No seeds, no new plants. Chop and drop would have been perfect for these grasses as they would have provided a good layer of mulch to my garden.
But I am not that organized. The seeds are already there. I could also put the trimmings into the compost. The heat from the compost should kill the seeds. My compost does get hot. There is often steam coming out. So in theory this should work. By putting the grass clippings back in the compost I would be following proper permaculture principles. However, I am not that confident yet in my ability to kill these seeds. And I also know I don’t have time to be pulling up these grasses all over my garden which is what I had to do last time around. So into the green waste bin they shall go.
Maybe next time we are ready for a haircut I will get my timing straight…