Using Your Lawnmower to Grow Food in Your Garden

Using Your Lawnmower to Grow Food in Your Garden

Can you imagine growing tasty veggies and fruit in your yard using just your lawnmower once every year or so? Talk about a minimal effort! You can do it with these plants.

First, pick your patch. Select a sunny but out-of-the way area of your property that could be allowed to totally go to weeds (or already has). Start with a clean palate by preparing a bed as you normally would.

Asparagus Patch.

For asparagus, all of the work comes up front in the soil prep.

Start your patch in Fall by Double-digging your rows about four feet apart. To double-dig, first till or break up the soil in your row. Shovel the tilled soil into a wheel barrow so that you have a ditch. Now till the bottom of the ditch. I’ll even take a fork, thrust it through the tilled soil at the bottom of the ditch and break up the ground beneath it. Mix in any soil amendments you have. Lay in the Asparagus crowns and recover with the dirt from the wheelbarrow.

At this point ALL the hard work is done for the next seven to ten years!

Asparagus shoots will come up in the Spring before the weeds start to grow. Let the crowns build up their strength by not harvesting in the first year. After that, you can keep cutting the thick sprouts (bigger than a pencil) until they start until they start coming up thin.

At this point each season you can completely forget about your asparagus and just let the plot go to weeds. The asparagus will grow into five-foot-tall feathery beauties, towering over and unbothered by the weeds below them. After the first frost kills the plants, allow them to dry out so they’ll be less bulky and easier to mow down. Mow anytime between the first killing frost and Spring when they begin to grow. This will be the ONLY maintenance required. Leave the clippings on the ground as beneficial mulch.

 

Blackberry Patch.

Many of the thorny briar patches at the edges of yards are actually wild blackberry plants. You can cultivate these or plant your own. Blackberries are biennial which means they fruit in their second year and then die.

Wild blackberries are difficult to harvest because they’re a big unkept mix of first and second year plants plus all the dead and still thorny stems from previous years. The berries get all mixed in with the thorns and harvesting them is literally a bloody pain.

The key to lawnmower cultivation for blackberries is to harvest and mow only every other year. If you have room, you can have two sides to the plot and only mow one each year so the other will bear fruit every year. The patch will produce twice the berries and half the thorns as it would naturally. The berries you didn’t pick or that the birds ate and redeposited will reseed your plot every year. Mow after the frost and before Spring.

Mower Tips. You’re not mowing down friendly little stalks of grass anymore, you’re up against a year or two of undergrowth. To make it easier, use the mower’s tallest setting, go slowly and move it back and forth as you go along. Come back for a second shorter pass if you’d like. Using a sharp blade will make it even easier.

And that is ALL there is to it. Once you get these plants growing, it’s easy living from then on. Just one mow job every year or every other year. No Muss, No Fuss, All Wuss. If you can think of any other plants that can be grown with this method, please post a comment to mention them.