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Grass cuttings and water

My water supply is from the hills behind my house. For the last 3 years I have been in severe drought mode - one year ran out completely and the other 2 down to a trickle - so I have had to ration my water use for domestic use with nothing left for my poor vegetable plots. I could keep flowers going with grey water and the rest of my well established garden (bushes trees etc) survive well but all veg / fruit either died or were tiny and inedible (e.g. one year, teeny tiny bitter gooseberries, onion sets not much bigger than when they went in) so you need to think no water for anything from weeks to months. I've been wondering whether putting down grass cuttings as and when I cut the lawns will help to keep in some moisture? I always think the mulch will become one giant slug hotel (no to slug pellets) so I'm not sure whether to try it this year, in drought the slugs and snails are not so active but a nice thick layer of grass might wake them up again. What does anyone think of grass mulching? Is there a better alternative? Any ideas welcome.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,155
    I never do it- I put them in the compost bin, but we don't have to worry here about water. The SW is quite different from where I am. It's always harder when you have a natural supply if you're not in a wetter area. We had too much water at the last house [springs] and it always seems unfair when you see it flooding downhill on the road as it breached the boundaries everywhere, yet others are struggling to get any.
    I think any kind of mulching will help, as long as it's after the soil's well moistened, but sometimes grass clippings just form a crust, so I don't know if that will be an advantage or a drawback. It might be better to try an d source good quality manure, or even woodchip, although the latter will have fewer nutrients for any fruit. 
    Others may have some good suggestions though. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Any kind of mulching will help, but only to a certain degree.

    You need to sort your water problem out really, you must smell a bit in Summer with none of it?  :D

    Look into water storage tanks or have a borehole fitted.

    Our house was the same for many years, the previous owners had the borehole put in. I now use the spring to feed tanks and use that to water the plants.

  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    I agree with @MikeOxgreen. I'd look into a getting a borehole dug and sort out the root of the problem. No pun intended. 
    I live in the SW too and my water comes from the hills but up to now there hasn't been a problem because I have a good supply. 
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,353
    edited 28 February
    For the first 30 years of our time here we had no problem with our spring supply. Then dried up briefly in 2018 and came close again this last summer, despite our careful rationing.
    The difference is caused by people further down hill who have boreholes and lower the water table for those of us higher up. Our neighbour has the same problem. Can't afford a borehole, the roof needs mending. The joy of old houses!
    We do have plenty of water butts and a water tank for the sheep, but I never use our water for plants. Last summer was a surprise though as I needed far less for my established borders than I expected. Lots of organic matter and generous mulching, combined with closely packed plants with little bare soil and I only watered once or twice soon after planting and after that only any individual plant that showed signs of wilting under the hot sun. Most, including a lot of dahlias, coped just fine :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,155
    Indeed @Buttercupdays. Saving rainwater in butts/tanks when you can is the only appropriate method with a natural supply, as it can be affected too easily - especially in drier parts of the country. Even wetter areas had more problems than usual last year. There was even talk here that people might be asked to ration their use. Unheard of!

    Clearly didn't bother the clown up the road who waters his scalped grass for hours even when it's raining. Selfish beyond belief. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,116
    Luckily we are on mains, but most of our friends in the area only have spring water.
    After running out last summer, one friend had a borehole put in during the autumn.
    It cost £26,000  :#:smile:

    So not an option for many people.

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,116
    Not sure where the smiling emoji came from! 
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 7,705
    What is the soil like right now? If it's moist or wet because of winter rain I'd be looking at a really thick mulch of good organic matter right now if you can get it. 

    If (like us) the soil is very dry (4th driest February on record...) there's not much point mulching as such as it will only prevent any rain which falls reaching the soil. Think I'm actually going to have to water my borders before I do the spring mulch!

    I have tried using grass clippings around raspberries before now but it looked unsightly and I ended up with grass growing around the canes.

    Maybe laying newspaper or cardboard first would have at least prevented that problem.

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,116
    Hi @nonenone,

    Just a thought .... if you can mix the grass cuttings with some leaves or some shredded stuff then it might work.
    If you are worried about slugs you could water with nematodes before putting your mulch down.

    Good luck,
    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,155
    That was my thinking @Topbird - the condition of the soil just now is a factor. [Very worrying if you have such dry soil just now Topbird.  :/]
    A good thick mulch will help, but it needs to be of the right material to be helpful. 
    Leaf mould is excellent, so - similar to @Bee witched 's suggestion, if you can get anything like that it would be ideal.

    A layer of card or newspaper first will be very helpful too, as @Topbird suggests. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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