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Three Homes, Three Ways to Mow (all without gas)

Over the past 20 years, I've been fortunate to live in three very different homes, with three very different lawns. But every time the focus has always been on keeping things green.

In my first city home that I bought on my own back in Portland, I arrived to a very typical yard situation: full grass in front and in back. No garden, few flowers, just...grass. With that, I bought a reel mower with the collection bag. I love these because when you want to use that mowed grass for mulch in other places, or to add green to your compost pile, it's available, otherwise you can - and should - leave the rest on the grass to naturally feed the lawn. (Here's why that's so important)

When we moved out to the farm, we were faced with over 5 1/2 acres to care for, and - as discussed in this previous post - we made decisions about what would be mowed, what would be covered with raised beds, what we'd tamp down and plant wildflowers over, and what we'd let rewild and provide habitat for the wildlife that we shared our land with. When it came to the existing lawn we'd not yet transitioned, we invested not in a tractor but in a Ryobi electric riding mower. Not only did it do a badass job in keeping the grass cut and plugged in at the end to provide us with a machine that required no gas and gave out no fumes, but it also served as a great four-wheeler to get around the property, AND had a built in hook on the back to attach a cart to haul firewood we'd chopped from downed trees on the other end of the property not to mention other heavy stuff like mulch. It was a total badass of a machine, and I highly recommend it.

Finally, back in the city, when we downsized we didn't worry about mowing. Yes, there was a yard in front and back when we first moved in, but I quickly eliminated literally every bit of grass that fall, covering it up with tons of burlap coffee bags we'd gotten a carload of from the local distributor who gives them away when they're done with them. They are THE best to use for weed suppression, killing grass, and don't need to be weighed down like cardboard, as they're heavy enough to not blow away. So what did that mean? We didn't buy a lawnmower. The only patch of grass we have is in the alley, on the other side of our back fence. Our ducks keep that pretty well trimmed when we take little free ranging 'field trips', or I use our Ryobi battery-powered string trimmer to manage it. The bonus is that Ryobi products all share the same charger, so we can swap it to & from our drill, nailer, sander, shopvac, and more. Pretty rad.

PS - here's why lawns are bad...


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