Today, we mowed the food prairies, our prototype herbaceous plantings at SFA. I was hoping to wait till January 22nd to have a lab the first week of class and teach students about mowing naturalistic plantings. However, with the warm weather the underplanted Narcissus × odorus had flower buds emerging from the soil. This problem is one I outlined in detail in a previous post.
I did get to show Anna Claire and Jevon, two of our Plantery student apprentices how mowing is accomplished. For clearing the vegetation, I was inspired last year from a video Austin Eischeid posted to just raise a push mower on the highest setting and rev it into action.
This year is our second mowing of the food prairies, and it went off without a hitch. It took about 40 minutes to mow 650 square feet, but that includes some down time to refill the mower with gas.
I prefer to mow when we can because the ground up residue provides a mulch that prevents weed growth for much of the rest of the growing season. Even late into the fall of 2018 I was able to find ground up grass clippings from the January 2018 mowing.
And, we were able to find Narcissus × odorus buds still intact after the cut. Mission accomplished.
Oh, and here’s a video from last year if you want to see the process. Yes, our students do really mow that fast.