Common garden weeds: can I eat them?

Are you fed up with battling your common garden weeds? Do you follow a strict weeding regime year-on-year-out, and you still have a flowerbed overgrown with invaders? Have weeds crept into your lawn?

Weeding is probably the most thankless of all garden chores. You turn you back for what seems like a couple of days, and they’re back in more significant numbers. And there’s always that moment of dread when you arrive home after a two-week holiday…

All gardens have weeds; it’s as certain as death and taxes. But – actually – not all weeds are bad. Some have pretty flowers that attract the bees. And many common garden weeds are edible!

So, stop battling the weeds and start eating (some of) them. This article is all about what to do with common garden weeds. Sure, they might look unsightly, but some of them are mighty tasty.

What are the most common garden weeds?

Common garden weeds in the UK have excellent medieval names: chickweed, fat hen, hairy bittercress, ground elder, shepherd’s purse, for example. And many of these are not only edible but full of medicinal benefits.

But don’t run off into the garden and eat the first weed you see! You need to know what you’re looking for.

The most common edible weeds are:

  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
  • Chickweed (Stellaria media)
  • Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)
  • Goosegrass (Galium aparine)
  • Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
  • Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria)
  • Fat hen (Chenopodium album)

We’re going to explore what some of these common edible weeds look like and how you might add them to your kitchen table.

Can I eat Dandelions?

A single dandelion

Well, yes – you can. And there’s a powerful argument that you should!

Dandelions are one of the most recognisable of all garden weeds. Commonly invading lawns across the UK, you can also find dandelions in flowerbeds and on verges.

The whole plant – whether cooked or raw – is highly nutritious:

  • An excellent source of A, C, and K vitamins
  • Contains Vitamin E, folate, and trace elements of vitamin B
  • A great source of iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • The root is rich in carbohydrate inulin – a soluble fibre that supports healthy gut bacteria
  • High in potent antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory

Additionally, dandelion could help regulate blood sugar (chicoric and chlorogenic acid), reduce cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. The antioxidant content could promote a healthier liver. And this super-weed could even aid weight loss (although this is yet to be conclusively proven).

And some test-tube studies have demonstrated that dandelion root extract can slow cancer cell growth in the liver, colon, and pancreas.

The list of health benefits goes on: it improves digestion and aids constipation, boosts immunity, can be used in skincare products, and supports healthy bones.

So, almost from head to toe, it seems that dandelion is a superfood.

What on earth are we doing by chopping them in their prime and throwing them on the compost heap?

How do I eat dandelions?

Knives and forks

You can eat the leaves, the flower, and the roots.

The leaves are bitter, and they’re not for everyone’s palate. However, they can be really delicious if you pick them young; before the plant produces flowers.

You probably wouldn’t eat an entire dish made of dandelion leaves. But they’re great as an accent to a mixed leaf salad – a little like adding rocket to a salad for peppery high notes.

Alternatively, you could add the leaves to a soup to add a subtle, pleasant bitterness.

The flowers are perfect bases for wine and jellies. Dandelion wine might sound like something that Tom and Barbara would cringe through in The Good Life (and Margot might well pour down the sink), but it makes a very palatable dessert wine. Try this recipe.

You can also use the flowers in a range of cooked dishes, from omelettes to risottos. Or use them as an attractive garnish.

Pick the flower buds before they’ve opened, and pickle them – they make a great alternative to capers.

The roots and stems are full of a milky liquid known as latex. Don’t worry – it’s not the latex you find in washing-up gloves.

Can I eat stinging nettles?

Stinging nettles

Nettles get a bad rap because they’re a bit – well, stingy. And who wants to put THAT in your mouth?!

But, prepared correctly, stinging nettles (or urtica dioica) are delicious and have been used in herbal medicines since the Ancient Egyptians discovered that they effectively treat arthritis and back pain.

And:

Roman troops rubbed nettles over their skin to keep warm. Well, I suppose that’s one way of doing it…?

But, like dandelions, nettles would be considered a superfood if Waitrose stocked them because they contain:

  • A, C, and K vitamins
  • Several B vitamins
  • Fats, including linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid
  • All of the essential amino acids
  • Polyphenols and pigments
  • Tons of antioxidant

Nettles are believed to help:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Treat the symptoms of enlarged prostate
  • Treat hayfever
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Control blood sugar
  • Minimised bleeding and speed up healing
  • Optimise liver health

However, avoid nettles if you’re pregnant as the natural compounds could trigger uterine contractions, possibly resulting in miscarriage.

How do I eat stinging nettles?

Firstly, think about how you might pick them. We all know that they sting, so we recommend wearing rubber gloves to avoid direct skin contact. Or you shouldn’t get stung if you pinch the leaves hard. But once cooked, stinging nettles lose their sting and are safe to eat.

The whole plant is edible, but the young leaves at the tips of the plant are the nicest to eat. When cooked, the leaves taste similar to spinach.

Add the dried leaves and flowers to hot water for a delicious herbal tea. Or try making a homemade nettle pesto! Alternatively, add the leaves, stem, and root for soups, stews, smoothies, and stir-fries – creamy nettle and potato soup is particularly scrummy.

Avoid eating raw leaves as the barbed hairs could cause throat irritation or a rash.

You can buy dried or freeze-dried leaves or find nettles added to creams, capsules, and tinctures.

But, it’s entirely possible to eat the stingers growing in your garden. It’s advisable to speak to your doctor if you use: blood thinners, blood pressure medication, diuretics, medication for diabetes, or lithium. The nettles can interact with those medications.

How do I de-sting stinging nettle leaves?

De-sting the leaves by blanching them in boiling water and rinsing them thoroughly. Squeeze out the water before adding to your favourite recipes.

Other weeds I can eat

The following common garden weeds are also great for the kitchen table:

Chickweed,,stellaria,Media.,Young,Taste,Very,Gently,With,Flavor,Of

Chickweed – add young, fresh leaves to salads dressed in olive oil and lemon, or blend the leaves into a pesto to liven up chicken or fish.

Hairy,Bittercress,,Cardamine,Hirsuta,,Growing,On,Meadows,Of,Galicia,,Spain

Hairy bittercress – the whole plant is edible, but the leaves and flowers offer a hot peppery flavour to salads, soups, or pesto.

Goosegrass

Goosegrass – picked when the leaves and shoots are young, goosegrass can be eaten like any green vegetable or as an ingredient in soups, stews, and pies. The hardened seeds are a good coffee substitute.

Goosegrass is often known colloquially as Cleavers or Sticky Willy. It’s the stuff that gets stuck to your cat’s fur, and they drag around the house!

Ground elder

Ground elder – with a similar flavour to parsley, ground elder is an excellent complement to fish dishes. Or eat it like cooked spinach with pasta. It contains lots of vitamin C and has been used to treat arthritis and rheumatism.

Ground elder is very invasive, so it’s not really recommended that you encourage too much growth. It’s easily confused with hemlock, which is poisonous, so approach ground elder with extreme caution.

Ready to get gardening?

Remember, never eat anything if you’re not entirely sure it’s safe. If you have any questions about this article or about how to control weeds in your lawn, then get in touch.

We’re always happy to help!

Thanks for reading.

Garden Mulch: Everything you’ve ever wanted to know (but were afraid to ask)

Do you find that your soil dries out quickly? Are your flowerbeds prone to hardy weeds? Do you need to protect your winter veg from frost? Garden mulch is the answer to all of these problems (and way more!).

Mulch is a layer of organic (or inorganic) matter placed over the surface of your flowerbeds and veg patch. From leafmould to wood bark, organic mulch helps preserve your soil’s moisture while suppressing weeds and improving the general look (and soil quality) of your flowerbeds.

This article is all about garden mulch: exploring the best type of mulch for your soil, how to mulch, and what time of year is best.

So, grab yourself a brew. Sit back, and enjoy the easy bit – the reading. Then, once you’re all clued up, you can don your wellies and a garden shovel and get mulching.

Ready? Let’s go.

What is garden mulch?

Keen gardeners use a variety of materials to mulch their flowerbeds. Organic (aka biodegradable) mulches are loose coverings that sit on the soil’s surface – applied to bare earth. Also, many people add mulch to the surface layer of their patio containers to help maintain heat and moisture.

There are two varieties of mulch: biodegradable and non-biodegradable. When applied to the soil surface, they both help suppress weeds by blocking out the sunlight and preserving moisture content.

Some of the benefits of garden mulch are:

  • Moisture retention
  • Weed suppression
  • Soil improver
  • Pest deterrent
  • Warms the soil in the spring
  • Temperature regulation

Organic mulch provides nutrients to the soil as it decomposes throughout the year. And it can deter some garden pests.

If you’re growing pumpkins and other crops that come into contact with the soil, mulch helps prevent fruiting rot by creating a barrier between the earth and the fruit.

However, some people like to add mulch just because it looks nice.

More about that later.

What is a biodegradable mulch?

Mulch cupped in hands

Biodegradable mulches break down over time, so they need replacing fairly regularly – probably every year in most cases.

It might seem like a faff, but biodegradable mulch actually contributes to the health of your soil. When the surface mulch rots down, it adds to the soil’s structure while adding nutrients to the earth. If you have heavy clay soil, it helps drainage; if you have sandy soil, it helps the earth retain moisture.

So, win-win.

Typical biodegradable mulches include:

  • Garden compost
  • Wood chippings/tree bark
  • Leaf mould
  • Well-rotted manure
  • Straw (for strawberries and surface-sitting fruit)
  • Spent hops
  • Seaweed

Get your garden compost from your compost heap, or you can buy it from garden centres. Check out this article to find out how to make leafmould.

What are non-biodegradable mulches?

Non-biodegradable mulch around succulents

Non-biodegradable mulches suppress weeds and help conserve soil moisture. But they do nothing to boost the fertility of the soil.

However:

The main advantage of non-biodegradable mulches is that they look nice, and they don’t need (as regular) maintenance.

Non-biodegradable mulches include:

  • Slate
  • Stone chippings
  • Shingle
  • Broken seashells
  • Pebbles
  • Gravel

Non-biodegradable mulch smartens up the spaces between your shrubs, giving your flowerbeds a nice, consistent surface.

Dark-coloured mulches help warm the soil when it’s sunny, while light-coloured coverings reflect the light, keeping the ground cool.

Most parts of the UK don’t overheat as a rule, but gardeners on the south coast may find that their plants will survive heatwaves better with a light-coloured mulch.

You can also buy a sheet- or woven mulch fabric, which is excellent for killing hardy weeds. It looks a little grotty, though, so it’s a good idea to camouflage it with gravel or bark.

When should I mulch my garden?

The best time to mulch is mid-to-late spring before the weeds have taken hold or in the autumn when your plants begin to die back.

Mulch before the weeds have had a chance to germinate. Adding the mulch layer traps any airborne seeds that have planted themselves in your soil, starving them of sunlight.

Alternatively, it’s fine to mulch at any time of year; whenever you add a new plant to your bed. This can help the new plant establish its root system without competition from weeds.

How deep should my garden mulch layer be?

If you’re applying a biodegradable mulch, it needs to be at least 5cm/2in deep – preferably 7.5cm/3in. This ensures that there’s enough surface covering to prevent moisture evaporation and to starve weeds of sunlight.

Remember: don’t skimp on your mulch. Used correctly, it can transform your garden.

How do I apply garden mulch?

Preparing your beds for mulching

It’s OK to cover the soil surface of an entire flowerbed. It looks neater than just piling it up around your plants, but both approaches will work.

When you apply your mulch, make sure that you don’t smother low-growing plants. Be careful to avoid piling your mulch around woody stems – keep it to a maximum of 7.5cm in depth to prevent stem rot.

It’s best to mulch over moist soil, so give it a good watering if it’s looking a little dry.

And remember, thoroughly remove all weeds before you lay your mulch.

A couple of helpful mulch tips:
Trees and shrubs – if you’re not mulching the entire surface of the soil/flowerbed, ensure that you mulch to the radius of the leafy canopy.

Creating new beds – add a woven mulch layer, making slits where the plants will grow. Cover with non-biodegradable mulch for improved aesthetics.

Frozen soil – don’t do it. Wait until the soil has defrosted before you mulch.

Avoid mulching Thymus species – the mulch can rot the stems and foliage.

What should I put down before mulching?

It’s easy to think that all you need to do is add a layer of mulch, and all will be well. Certainly, you will gain some benefits from that approach.

But:

For optimal results, it’s crucial to prepare the flowerbed.

1. Kill off and remove the weeds

Just as mulch can benefit your plants, it can also create a lovely, warm, and nutritious bed from your weeds.

And we really don’t want that, do we?

So, before you mulch, kill off the weeds. Pull out as much of the root as possible – otherwise, they’ll grow back.

If you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle with your weeds, then you could consider a chemical weed-killer. Always read the label as it can kill your plants as well.

If you’d prefer a natural weed-killer, lay sheets of newspaper doused in vinegar across the top of your soil. The paper will block out the light, and the acid in the vinegar will burn the leaves of the weeds.

If you use a chemical weed-killer, leave it for two weeks before you mulch to make sure the weeds are dead.

2. Trim your trees and bushes

You might wonder what the heck trimming your trees and bushes has to do with mulching. And – let’s face it – it’s a good question.

This is a matter of neatness. Trees and bushes drop seeds that can infiltrate your flowerbeds. So, if you want perfectly neat, mulched flowerbeds, make sure that your trees and bushes are cut back.

3. Rake your flowerbed

Rake the surface layer of the soil to remove organic material such as leaves, sticks, or seeds. This keeps everything neat but also ensures that your beds don’t grow wild!

4. Cultivate the surface soil

While you want the mulch layer to block out the sunlight to prevent the germination of weed seeds, you also need oxygen and water to penetrate the mulch layer so that it reaches your plant’s roots.

So, breaking up (or cultivating) the surface soil helps strengthen your beds by permitting moisture and air to reach the earth.

After cultivating, smooth out the top surface. Again – this is about neatness.

At this stage, you could add a pre-emergent herbicide to make sure that the smaller weed seeds that you can’t see are also killed off.

5. Get mulching!

Mulch away!

Can I just put mulch over weeds?

Weedy flowerbed

If you want your weeds to grow back more intensely, then go ahead.

Otherwise, remove them before you mulch! 🙂

Do I need to mulch my vegetable garden?

It’s a good idea to mulch your veg patch – it’s just as likely to suffer from weed invasion. And your plants might benefit from a drier surface layer to stop low-growing fruit and veg from rotting.

Many gardeners use black plastic sheeting to mulch their plots – this is long-lasting and prevents weeds.

You could use non-biodegradable mulches, like stones and pebbles to help avoid slugs – they dislike sliding over sharp and inconsistent surfaces.

But:

Non-biodegradable mulches can become trodden or tilled into the earth, which makes for a gritty soil consistency. So, if you’re cultivating veg over the long term, I’d recommend plumping for biodegradable mulch or plastic sheeting.

Should I remove old mulch?
Expert gardeners say that you shouldn’t need to remove old mulch before overmulching.

Does mulch turn into soil? Yes. At least, the biodegradable stuff does. As the mulch breaks down over the year, it nourishes the soil.

Win-win.

Ready to mulch?

Hopefully, we’ve given you all the information you’ll ever need to become an expert mulcher. If you have any further questions about mulching or anything lawn-related, then please get in touch.

We’re always happy to help.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Leafmould: How to Turn Fallen Leaves into Gardener’s Gold

Have you felt that sudden, distinct change in the air? That crispness that only begins to appear as October moves into November? Maybe you notice that the lush green of your shrubs and trees transform into the most vibrant reds, browns, and yellows. It’s leafmould season.

Sure, autumn is a sign that the summer is over. But there’s definitely a pay-off as the nights draw in and the temperature drops: the colours of autumn are a sight to behold.

However, leaves on your lawn is a BIG no-no. If you leave them to decompose over the winter, you’ll find that most of your grass will have died come spring.

So, dust off that trusty rake, and gather the leaves. But don’t instantly chuck them in the compost heap. Leafmould is a valuable mulch and an excellent soil improver. This article explains how to make it and what to do with it once you’ve created that lovely, crumbly, nutritious soil.

What is mulch?

Mulch around a new seedling

Mulch is a layer you place over the surface of your soil. It can be organic matter, such as fallen leaves, leafmould, or chipped barked. Or your can buy manufactured “fleece” or plastic lining that keeps the earth warm.

Mulching minimises weeds – for precisely the reason you DON’T want to leave leaves on your lawn (there’s a tongue twister for you!). The mulch layer creates a barrier between the sunlight and the soil, which can suffocate your lawn.

But a mulch layer is excellent for your flowerbeds, with a variety of benefits:

  • Conserves soil moisture
  • Improves fertility and soil health
  • Minimises weed growth
  • Keeps the soil warmer during the winter (and cooler in the spring)
  • Protects your plants from frost
  • Enhances visual appeal around your plants and shrubs

You can just rake any fallen leaves into your flowerbeds, and it will happily decompose over time while protecting and feeding your plants. But it can look a little scruffy, so you could – alternatively – gather your leaves together and create Leafmould.

What is Leafmould?

Leafmould

Leafmould (aka leafmold) is often referred to as “Gardener’s Gold”. Dug into your veg patch or flowerbed, it improves soil structure; spread over your soil, it makes a nutrient-rich mulch; or you can even use it in the spring as potting soil mix.

Leafmould forms from decomposed leaves and acts as an excellent soil conditioner. If your earth is on the heavier side, leafmould lightens it up and adds drainage. But if your soil is sandy and fine, leafmould adds structure, helping the soil retain its moisture.

Leafmould is made from the leaves of deciduous trees – in other words, trees that drop their leaves in the autumn. Most evergreen leaves aren’t suitable for leafmould (but are good for the compost heap).

Fallen autumn leaves have a low nitrogen content and are generally fairly dry, meaning that it takes longer for them to break down than standard compost. This nutritious compound comes about as a result of slow, bacterial decomposition, making a wonderful growing medium for young plants, a great soil conditioner, and excellent mulch.

How to create your own Leafmould

Firstly, rake up your leaves and gather them together in a cage (see “How to Build A Leafmould Cage” below). You can use a traditional garden rake or a leaf blower (on mulch mode) which sucks rather than blows (and gathers the leaves into a bag attachment).

Any fallen leaves are suitable for Leafmould, although thicker leaves (i.e., horse-chestnut) take longer to break down. Tougher, evergreen leaves are more suited to the compost heap. Pine needles make an excellent acidic leafmould, suitable for placing around ericaceous plants, such as rhododendrons and blueberries.

Avoid leaves from the following trees and shrubs, as they contain the wrong chemical composition for Leafmould:

  • Walnut
  • Eucalyptus
  • Camphor and cherry laurel
  • Leylandii

Gather your leaves for leafmould

Garden rake

Of course, rake your leaves from your lawn, but you can also collect them from wherever they land in your garden. Don’t forget paths and guttering; you really don’t want leaves to collect in your gutters!

Avoid leaves from the street, however, as there’s a chance they may have been polluted from passing traffic.

TOP TIP: Run your lawn mower at its highest setting, and let it suck up the leaves. The blades will chop them up, and they will decompose more quickly!

How to Build a Leafmould Cage

Leaves will break down more quickly in a ventilated cage. It’s easy to make one for yourself:

  1. Hammer four small posts into the ground.
  2. Attach chicken wire around the four posts, creating a small enclosure.
  3. Fill with your leaves!

Simple!

If the leaves are dry, give them a brief watering, and check every few months for dry areas. Turn the leaves over with a garden fork now and then to keep them moist.

Alternatively, an even easier way to create a little leafmould factory is to gather your leaves in sturdy black plastic bags:

  1. Gather your leaves, and press them down, so the bags are well filled,
  2. Tie up the ends of the bag.
  3. Use your garden fork to create several air holes in the plastic (to stop the leaves from turning into a revolting, stinky soup!).
  4. And leave them somewhere in your garden, where they’re unlikely to be disturbed.

How long does it take to make Leafmould?

Leafmould takes longer than composting because it relies on fungal decomposition. It generally takes around two-three years for the best outcomes.

Avoid topping up your leafmould cage as you’ll disturb the decomposition. Some people have two leafmould cages for rotation. Once you’re going, you’ll have Leafmould every year for your flowerbeds and veg patch.

How do I know my Leafmould is ready?

Leafmould should have a lovely, crumbly consistency. It will look like stone-free standard earth but will be a little darker in tone.

As mentioned, it should be ready in two years. But it’s even better after three, so if you have the patience, it’s worth the wait.

If there are lumps and stones in your Leafmould, you could sieve it, leaving a lovely, fine potting soil. It makes a wonderfully nutritious growing compound for seeds and young potted plants when mixed with weed-free garden soil.

What do I do with leafmould?

Leaf mould is excellent for improving the structure of your soil. If you have heavy clay soil, Leafmould helps “lighten” the heaviness, improving the drainage. If you have sandy soil, Leafmould adds structure that helps maintain moisture.

Lay a thick layer of the Leafmould over the top of your soil and dig it in.

If you can’t wait for complete decomposition, you can use young Leafmould as mulch, helping suppress weeds in your flowerbeds and around your veg. Add between 3-5cm on the top layer of the soil, around the base of your plants – don’t dig it in.

Ready to mulch?

So next time you ask yourself “what do I do with autumn leaves?” give a thought to starting your very own leafmould factory.

And if you have any questions about leadmould (or about anything lawn and garden-related), we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help.

Thanks for reading!

How to Beautify Your Lawn with Garden Lime

Are you struggling to transform your dying grass into a beautiful lawn? Has your grass become overrun with moss and weeds? You need garden lime!

Ideally, grass needs a pH of around 6.5 and 7. Any higher, and you’re creating a lovely environment for weeds (and terrible conditions for your grass). Luckily, garden lime is the answer – neutralising acidic soil.

But when should you sprinkle it, and how much should you use? This article explores all you’ll ever need to know about garden lime.

How do I know if my soil is acidic?

Scientist carrying out the Litmus test

Grass doesn’t like acidic soil, but that doesn’t mean that everything in your garden hates acid. Ericaceous plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and daffodils love acidic soil.

But acidic soil turns your grass yellow. Organic decomposition and leaching cause the acidity to rise, washing away the calcium and magnesium. That’s why it’s so important to rake up fallen leaves from your lawn in the autumn.

The simplest way to assess the acid level of your soil is to use a pH testing kit. They range from little electronic devices to litmus papers – remember those little strips you used in the school science lab!

If you discover that your soil is acidic, you can neutralise it with garden lime.

What is garden lime used for?

Garden lime is a calcium compound – usually created from ground-up limestone. There are four main advantages to using garden lime:

  1. Neutralising soil acidity (pH value) – Spreading lime helps you achieve the correct acidity level. Lime contains lots of calcium, which raises the pH value. The most suitable soil acidity for grass is 6.5-7.
  2. Lime prevents the growth of moss – Lime will help your grass grow faster than moss. Remember, the denser your turf, the less space for moss to develop.
  3. Fertilisers are better absorbed – Over-fertilising can increase the acidity of your soil. However, garden lime assists the absorption of garden fertilisers. For that reason, you should first spread lime BEFORE fertilising.
  4. Reduces the chance of weeds – Lime helps strengthen your grass plants, creating a denser, thicker covering of grass. Thicker grass gives weeds less of an opportunity to develop.

When should you spread garden lime on your lawn?

Handheld spreader in use in garden

Testing your soil will confirm whether your soil is too acidic or too alkaline. You might recall from school science lessons:

  • The strongest acid is pH0
  • Water is pH7
  • The strongest alkaline is pH14

Neither alkaline nor acidic soil is great for grass.

Alkaline soil is sometimes called “sweet soil” and contains high sodium, calcium, and magnesium levels. It’s most commonly found in drier regions with lower levels of rain or in hard water areas. Roots often struggle to absorb nutrients in alkaline soil.

You can lower the pH of high alkaline soil with sphagnum peat, aluminium sulphate, iron sulphate, acidifying nitrogen, and organic mulches.

Acid soil is deficient in calcium and magnesium and is more commonly found in regions that receive lots of rain.

You can apply garden lime at any time of the year, but it’s most recommended in the autumn, winter, or before the start of the spring.

If the weather is dry, you’ll need to water your lawn immediately after applying garden lime or sprinkle it just before a rain shower.

Never sprinkle lime and fertiliser at the same time; it will drastically reduce the effect of both.

Fighting acid soil with garden lime: how much should you use?

Our advice is to lime twice a year with Lawn Lime. Use 25 grams per m2. It makes no sense to sprinkle too much at once. After all, the acid value of the soil does not change overnight. If your soil has the correct pH value for grass, then lime once a year – again, 25 grams per m2. In this way, you prevent the acidification of the soil, and the earth maintains the correct pH.

For best results, we recommend that you use Lawn Lime twice a year. Use 25g per m2. It’s better to add too little than too much – it’s almost impossible to remove once you’ve laid it down.

Don’t expect the acidity to change overnight; it’s a gradual absorption process.

If you’ve tested your soil and the pH is about right, then it’s still advisable to sprinkle garden lime, but minimise it to once a year. This will prevent future acidification.

How to use garden lime

Lime – in itself – won’t damage your grass. But it is essential to sprinkle evenly across your lawn’s surface. Uneven distribution won’t necessarily affect the look of your lawn in the short term, but the pH may vary if you’re not accurate when you sprinkle.

An uneven pH throughout your lawn could eventually affect your lawn’s appearance.

So, distribute your garden lime as evenly as possible. Follow our step-by-step guide, and you won’t go wrong!

Remember: apply garden lime in dry weather only, and make sure the grass is dry before you begin.

  1. Remove leaves and garden debris. Compost as much as you can. Or you could rake fallen leaves into your flower beds – they act as mulch over the winter and nourish the soil as the organic matter breaks down.
  2. Mow your lawn (unless it’s winter – your grass plants enter dormancy when the soil temperature drops below 10℃).
  3. Measure your lawn and work out the size in m2. If it’s 4m x 5m, your lawn is 20m2 (i.e., 4×5=20).
  4. Calculate how much Lawn Lime you need for the job. (Remember, you need 25g per m2). So, for a 20m2 lawn, you’re going to need 500g. That’s 20m2 x 25g = 500g.
  5. Divide your measured garden lime into two equal parts (i.e., 2 x 250g).
  6. Sprinkle the first part lengthways and the second part widthways. Try and make the coverage as even as possible. This can be done by hand, but it is better to use a spreader for a more extensive lawn.

After application, water your lawn to encourage the absorption of the lime. You can walk on the grass straight away.

Does garden lime kill moss?

Lawn in serious need of moss killer

Moss likes acidic soil. Lime won’t directly kill it, but it will make the earth less hospitable for moss.

Moss is problematic for lawns because it grows over the soil surface and prevents rainwater from penetrating down into the earth. This makes the grass dry out, giving it a yellow appearance.

So, applying lime will help your grass maintain its deep, luscious green colour and prevent moss from zapping the water from the grass’s roots.

Can I apply lime and fertiliser to my lawn at the same time?

No!

If spread lime and fertiliser at the same time, they effectively cancel each other out. The calcium and nitrogen bond together, and your grass will not absorb the nutrients.

We advise you to wait at least four weeks after liming before you fertilise.

Four is the magic number here.

Apply lime in winter or early spring, and fertilise four weeks later. And then wait four weeks after fertilising if you intend to apply lime again later in the year.

Should I use garden lime granules or powder?

Pile of the granules of All-Round lawn fertiliser

This is down to your personal preference.

Powder absorbs into the soil quickly, but it can get blown away by the wind. Most lime products don’t fully absorb with the first watering – if the soil dries out after the initial watering, a strong gust of wind could blow the remaining powder residue away.

Granules create less mess and can be more evenly spread. MOOWY’s Lawn Lime is a granulated powder (so it’s the best of both worlds). This means the powder is packed into a little jacket which quickly dissolves when it makes contact with water.

Should you apply garden lime to new grass?

If your soil test reveals that your earth is too acidic, it’s safe to apply garden lime to a newly turfed lawn. Unlike iron sulphate, lime won’t scorch your grass.

However, it’s better to give new grass a starter fertiliser – don’t instantly jump to the lime aisle in your garden centre. Fertilise with a good starter fertiliser and use lime four weeks later.

Is garden lime toxic?

As with all garden chemicals, always read the label. And while MOOWY’s Lawn Lime is not toxic, we absolutely do not recommend eating it. Our packaging is resealable, so store it (closed) away from pets and children.

Once scattered, it’s safe for children and pets to use the lawn (but – for other brands – read the label!).

Ready to get started, or do you want more information?

We hope you’ve got enough information here to start your own garden liming project. But we’re always happy to help if you have queries.

If you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch. We will be happy to help you.

Dogs Eating Grass: Why do they do it?

Without being unduly harsh, dogs aren’t generally known for their vast intelligence. Most dog owners will agree. Dogs eating grass is a common occurrence because – let’s face it: sometimes, it seems they’ll eat absolutely anything.

From stones to – well, let’s just say they’re happy when they’ve been running through a field populated by cows – dogs will eat most things if given the opportunity.

Dogs eat grass. It’s almost as certain as bears doing their business in the woods.

But why do they do it? Is it bad for them? And should you be doing anything to prevent them from munching on your beautiful lawn?

This article is all about dogs eating grass and how you might stop them if they’re ruining your prized lawn.

Is eating grass bad for a dog?

Little dog eating grass

It’s commonly believed that dogs eating grass is a sign of illness. Some people think that they eat grass to consciously make themselves sick due to an upset stomach. After all, dogs aren’t always particularly discerning when it comes to diet.

And while there is an element of truth in that theory, less than 10% of grass-chomping canines are sick before eating grass. And fewer than 25% of dogs will vomit AFTER a graze on the green stuff.

Grass in its natural state is not usually bad for your dog. They most likely eat it because they like the taste. However, if your dog is continuously vomiting up grass and has gone off their food, then it’s a surer sign that something’s up, and we advise you to consult your vet.

However, your dog can pick up some nasty parasites from eating grass. Ensure that they’re protected from lungworm, passed on from eating grass-dwelling larvae in infected snails, frogs, and slugs. Most standard worm or flea treatments available from pet shops don’t protect against lungworm.

Check your fertiliser packet

I mentioned earlier that grass in its natural state isn’t usually bad for your dog. But, it can depend on the chemicals you apply to your lawn.

We spend a lot of time caring for and nurturing the perfect lawn, and sometimes, we use harsh chemicals. All of MOOWY’s fertilisers are pet-friendly, but always read the label before you use a new product.

Having said that, our fertilisers are pet-friendly; it’s probably still a good idea to discourage your dog from nibbling on your lawn directly after application.

So, always check the packet, especially if you’re using weed- or moss killer.

How do I stop my dog from eating grass?

Dog thinking about eating grass

One of the likely reasons for dogs eating grass is boredom, which is easily remedied.

Make sure your furry friend gets plenty of exercise – just letting them burn off energy by running around the garden may not be enough. Take them for long walks if you can (or get someone else to do it if you don’t have the time).

Providing toys for your dog to play with inside will help them burn energy and keep them engaged. You could even provide them with food puzzles that keep your dog occupied while rewarding them with treats.

Dogs eating grass: it could be dietary

Alternatively, your dog may be eating grass because of a dietary deficiency. They may be instinctively treating intestinal worms or improving their digestion. Or they may need fibre, provided perfectly by your prized lawn.

One particular study suggests that the need for fibre is a strong argument. A miniature poodle had been eating and vomiting grass every day for seven years. They were put on a high-fibre diet, and within three days, they stopped eating grass altogether.

So, you could try checking the fibre content of their regular meals and swapping it for a higher fibre alternative.

The Health benefits of grass (for dogs!)

We don’t really associate dogs as plant eaters, but dogs are – in practice – “facultative omnivores”, meaning that they derive nutrition from plant-based foods (but they are NOT vegans!).

Plants and grasses supplement your dog’s meaty diet with fibre (as mentioned), vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and antioxidants!

For example:

  • Vitamins: wheatgrass contains B, C, E, and K vitamins.
  • Minerals: wheatgrass contains trace elements of copper, selenium, iron, magnesium, sulfur.
  • Amino acids: again, wheatgrass contains 17 amino acids – the building blocks of protein. 7 out of those 17 are essential for optimal canine health
  • Enzymes: helping your dog gain maximum nutrition from their food,
  • Antioxidants: compounds that slow or prevent cellular damage.

Do you want more information?

We hope that you’ve got everything you’ll ever need to know about dogs eating grass from our little blog here. But if you have any questions related to grass and lawn health, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!