GRASS - The Most Valuable FREE Resource for Growing Food, by Huw Richards

Jeremie Litzler
  • Permaculture
  • Gardening
  • Huw Richards
  • Grass clippings
About 3 min

Let’s discover how to use and debunk the myths about it with Huw.

Grass clippings in a lawn mower bag
Credits: image taken from Huw Richards’s vlog

Thanks to Huw Richards for sharing his wisdom and knowledge! I wrote the following notes watching the video published on Huw Richards’s channel. You can watch it using this YouTube linkopen in new window.

Sourcing grass

You must source your grass from places not sprayed with fertilizers or pesticides.

Misunderstanfings about grass clippings

It happens very often that people think that grasse clippings aren’t good.

Why? Because if you apply a too thick layer, it creates a sludge and an anaerobic environment.

In practice, you don’t want to apply a layer of more than 2 cm to 3 cm thick.

Grass on top of a compost heap
Grass is a great addition to a compost heap. Credits: image taken from Huw Richard’s vlog

Also, the other trick is to mix it with another material, like cardboard.

Mix of cardboard with grass
If you turn it regularly, you should get some decent compost. Credits: image taken from Huw Richard’s vlog

It will become ready within 2 months.

Drying out grass clippings

Grass is considered a nitrogen-rich material.

However, drying out grass transforms into brown material or carbon-rich material.

Yellow grass
When it has dried, grass has lost its nitrogen and only the fibers remain. Credits: image taken from Huw Richard’s vlog

Multiple mulch options

The benefits of mulching with grass are:

  • weed suppression (if you use grass with no seeds of course)
  • moisture retention

If slugs aren’t a worry for you, you can mulch your beds with a 2–3 cm layer.

If slugs are a concern, you can still use grass but sprinkle no more than 1 cm.

It’s easier to apply it when the plants are small.

Adding grass as mulch will build up organic matter because one molecule of organic matter holds up to four molecules of water.

It will help the long-term health and water retention capabilities of the soil.

Mulching potatoes

Huw is growing potatoes in containers. He adds a good 5 cm layer of grass on top to keep the moisture and hope that he won’t need to water them.

He tops up with more grass as it starts breaking down.

Watering

Apparently, watering is more effective. Why?

When you have a dry soil, the water will often run off.

With grass clippings, it simply won’t. The grass captures the water and slows it down to the soil.

JADAM liquid solution from grass clippings

Read all about JADAM in these notes I took from another vlog from Huw.

JADAM book
The book of Youngsan Cho details the method of JADAM organic farming. Credits: image taken from Huw Richard’s vlog

Checkout Youngsan’s websiteopen in new window for more details.

JADAM liquid solution has a balance pH and you need to apply it throughout the plant’s life, up to the flowering or fruiting stage.

For the case of grass, here is the process Huw suggests.

You will need:

  • Rain water
  • Leaf mold or really old homemade compost
  • An opaque container

The procedure is simple:

  • Fill the container to 70% with fresh grass nearly to the top while pushing down gently to put as much as possible

  • Add the water to cover a little bit over the grass.

  • Press down the grass if necessary

  • Sprinkle the leaf mold

    Dirt and grass in a bag
    Huw is using a transparent plastic beer container so he used a compost bag to make sure no light gets in. Credits: image taken from Huw Richard’s vlog

About light

With fermented products, it’s better to keep the light away.

Two weeks after, you can use the JADAM liquid in a 1:30 ratio. As it ages, it gets better and therefore, you will need to adjust the ratio: see the details here.

The interesting thing is that you can top up with water the container for years while you keep the solids in. Adding additional organic matter of the same plant (in this case grass clippings) is also an option as the original matter has decomposed.