[Infographic] How to create your urban garden?
Health, good living, the value of our time: in those years of technological stress and extreme multi-tasking, these are concepts we have forgotten about for too long.
However, living a healthier lifestyle has recently become fashionable, and not only as something for the weekend.
All of these habits are slowly reshaping a new era.
This ‘new humanism’ is placing Mankind’s desire for a meaningful life and time spent in tranquillity back in the spotlight. This tangible wellness flow is an expression of what nature creates, produces and transforms every day.
All natural processes have some sort of perfect positivity that holds a sense of perpetual calm and adequacy. When we think about what is good for our garden, one of the most nature-friendly techniques is mulching.
Mulching is a gentle mowing technique that respects the lawn’s lifecycle. It’s also called organic chopping, as grass is repeatedly shredded in tiny particles which then fall back down onto the lawn.
Mulching takes from nature what nature then resupplies. Organic components of finely chopped grass actually act as a natural fertilizer, which, by being returned to the lawn helps to keep it healthy and thriving. Alive.
When we are about to mow our lawn at weekends, we know we’re going to be enchanted by the natural perfumes of cut grass, while the early morning sunlight of arriving spring warms us. The contact with the essence of things is stronger than ever, as we’re experiencing it while taking care of our garden.
A real nature lover would only choose a mulching mower. But how does it actually work? Traditional mowers immediately expel mowed grass, or collect it in a basket. This grass is to be thrown away in the recycle bin later. It will return to the ecosystem later anyway, but it won’t nourish the plot of land we are so carefully taking care of.
Mowers with a mulching system, though, save grass in their shell for a second cutting; they chop it finely and spread it on our lawn.
This mowing process is 100% natural. It embraces the concept of creating a deep connection between the gardener’s and the lawn’s well-being. On the one hand, the gardener takes pleasure in mowing the lawn and on the other is conscious of taking it back to a new life.
‘Mulching’ comes from ‘mulch’, the mixture of organic material (dry leaves, mown grass, etc.) which gradually piles up on the ground.
This natural process gives rise to the mulching technique, a procedure used in both agriculture and gardening, consisting of scattering the soil with organic material (such as dry grass, or manure) in order to protect the soil from excessive exposure to the sun, maintaining moisture and protecting from frosts.
Mulching is also useful in maintaining a good temperature and avoiding the growth of weeds.
This is the ultimate purpose of mulching, as to spread chopped grass on the ground forms a lightweight layer which both protects the ground from excessive heat or cold and nourishes the lawn.
All of us have the right to feel a synchronicity with our own lawn. And all of us can mow it with the mulching technique. This is the most common and appropriate technique for taking care of lawns in Northern Europe, due to climatic conditions. Temperatures can be frigid there, and seasons act differently from the Mediterranean areas; this directly influences the growth of the grass. In comparison with the warmer areas typical of Southern Europe, grass grows more slowly up North, and gardeners can mow their lawns less frequently by using mulching mowers.
Mulch mowing works well in milder climate areas too. It is only necessary to use traditional basket mowers in the spring, when grass grows faster, and take advantage of the mulching cut later, to adjust the grass’s height and fertilize it at the same time.
The mulching cut works for almost every kind of lawn, with one exception: bentgrass, a fine variety of grass which yields a thick and woven lawn – used in golf greens – and requires high maintenance, most of all when it comes to regular topdressings and irrigation, to avoid damage to its depth.
Lawns require care and attention. They are a fundamental part of our living space – they are actually our second house, as they help us return to a more intimate contact with our primordial past.
The delicacy given by mulch mowing is the best option for people willing to wholeheartedly devote themselves to the care of their lawn.
Mulching is a natural gardening process: it follows the lawn’s lifecycle, it complies with its paces, and makes the most of the grass removed by returning it to where it came from. To take care of our lawn with mulching means to adopt a holistic approach to our garden, to take care of it with an eye for its and our wellbeing.
It is best to wait for certain precise conditions and then follow this advice:
Switching to mulching doesn’t mean excluding leaf collection. Quite the opposite: it’s a good habit to collect leaves after the last seasonal mowing. At that time of the year, the ground temperature is lower than the 6°C we recommended, and the grass has stopped growing.
Mulching allows the soil to maintain a warm temperature in winter and reduces the need of watering during summer. This is why it is so popular in Northern Europe, especially in Scandinavian countries, but is also widespread all over Europe due to its adaptability to every climate, even continental ones.
Mulching is useful as it respects the environment: finely chopped grass falls back down and gradually decays, acting as a fertilizer and depositing the nutrients the soil needs.
By choosing this mowing method there’s no need for chemical fertilizer in order to have a healthy, admirable lawn.
Mulching is convenient, as it eliminates waste: as the grass is so finely chopped, it does not need to be collected. This is a remarkable time-saver as regards grass collection and its disposal.
Lastly, mulching is quick as it reduces mowing time. In 2008 Minoprio Foundation compared mulching with traditional mowing methods, which consist of cutting, collection and disposal of grass, on an approximately 1200 sqm wide plot of land.
At the end of the season, summing up all the timings and the related costs (for example, the fuel consumption for the journeys to and from the dump) mulching proved to be a more convenient, economical and environmentally friendly way than traditional methods.
Mulching is not only a mowing technique. It is also an approach a gardener adopts when he/she wants convenience, speed, and pragmatism to match an ideal of respect for the environment. On the one hand, mulching shares dynamic values that are coherent with present society, on the other the regained contact with nature allows us to be fully immersed in a well-being we sometimes tend to forget in those times of technological advance.
Let’s turn our lawn mower off: we’re back to the starting point. Finely chopped grass is sitting on a luxurious, freshly mown lawn, expressing all its joy and gratitude for human care.
by Alessandro Da Rin Betta
Alessandro Da Rin Betta is a contributor from international network Gushmag. Passionate about Food & Beverage, Sports and Gardening, he always carries around a notebook to fixate his thoughts and his observations.
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