How to compost with a reel mower

by Marty Ross

Compost is the secret ingredient of all great gardens: it adds nutrients to the soil, improves its structure and texture, and makes top-notch mulch. Here's how to make your own compost — and jump-start any compost pile — with the help of the StaySharp™Max Reel Mower and grass catcher.

How to compost with a reel mower

Great compost starts with a pile of dried leaves, but the healthy decomposition process doesn't really get going well until you combine the leaves (carbon) with green trimmings (nitrogen). Mixing green grass clippings into a pile of leaves generates heat in the pile to transform the leaves and clippings into crumbly, nutrient-rich compost. You'll then find lots of ways to use homemade compost in your garden.

With a reel mower fitted with a grass catcher, add a significant quantity of clippings to your compost pile with just a couple of quick passes over the lawn. The StaySharp Max reel mower has a super-sharp cutting system that relies on a large cutting reel and a stationary blade – the two actually never touch, so there is no friction. No other reel mower cuts so easily.

Fiskars Compost Reel Mower Guide Manual 02

As you push the mower, the grass clippings accumulate into the grass catcher.

Instead of making trips back and forth to the compost pile with the grass catcher full of clippings, empty the clippings into a Kangaroo® Garden Bag. Fill it up once or twice and you'll have enough of grass to heat the compost pile up.

Now, use a garden fork to combine the pile, so the green grass clippings and brown leaves are well mixed. The Ergo D-Handle Steel Garden Fork is a great tool for lifting the grass and leaves and tossing them together. The fork's D-shaped handle gives you a sure grip, and the teardrop-shaped shaft is comfortable whether you're turning compost or digging into the soil.

Fiskars Compost Reel Mower Guide Manual 03

Continue to add grass clippings to your compost pile from time to time during the growing season, mixing them in each time. When the mixture is brown and crumbly, you can start to use your compost. Add a shovel full to the soil whenever you're planting flowers, trees, or shrubs. Compost adds nutrients to the soil as it continues to break down. Or add the compost as mulch around established plants. Mulching with compost is one of the best things you can do for your soil and for your garden.

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