Did you know that almost half of your spring and summer yard waste is made up of grass clippings? It would stand to reason that so much grass should provide ample composting material, but unfortunately the moisture-rich grass creates problems in the compost bin. Nevertheless, there are some simple steps you can take to include this yard waste into your compost and enjoy the benefits of the resulting soil augmentation. Learning how to compost grass clippings introduces you to two distinct methods that favor hot or more moderate climates.
Hot Climate Grass Composting
Spread the tarp out on your patio. Choose a spot that is in full sun, but do not place the tarp onto the lawn or a flower bed.
Place freshly mowed grass clippings on top of the tarp. Use a rake to spread the clippings for an even distribution. Allow the sun to dry out the clippings for a few days. Depending on your location and climate condition, one day might be all that is needed, especially if you mowed your lawn very early in the morning.
Rake up the dried grass clippings and add them to your compost bin. Since the sun has partially dried out the grass at this point, there is little danger of clumping and the formation of anaerobic air pockets within your compost bin. Turn the heap as you normally would.
Moderate Climate Grass Composting
Place a layer of bulk into your compost bin. Use cut sticks and twigs, dry leaves and wood chips as your primary bulk materials. Secondary material could include paper.
Add a 1- to 2-inch-thick layer of fresh grass clippings. Be sure to evenly spread the grass clippings over the layer of bulk. Follow up this process with another layer of bulk material. Continue adding alternating layers until you have used up all of your grass clippings.
Aerate your compost pile frequently. You may use an ordinary pitchfork or a specialized compost turning tool made for this purpose. A good example is the "Compost Air," which is little more than an extremely elongated drill bit that you use to poke air holes into the compost pile from a variety of directions. As a general rule of thumb, if you can smell the pile after adding grass clippings, you are not sufficiently aerating it.
About this Author
Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.