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Lawns & Mowers

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Relocating to lawn-filled acreage means we need lawn mowers! A few years ago we had eliminated the last of our Seattle garden’s lawn. Our new garden in Mount Vernon, WA came with about an acre + of rolling lawns. That takes a lot of mowing in spring when rain and sun take turns pushing new growth everywhere!

Garden Mentors founder driving John Deere lawn mower tractor

Driving the John Deere lawn tractor is fun & makes hauling things up & down the hill easier. But, we hope to use petrol-burner lawn mowers less as time goes by.

Our new home came with an old John Deere lawn tractor. Yes! We have a tractor! But, as with most things on this new property, it’s a fixer and went into the shop for repairs recently.

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Fortunately, our friends at Fiskars* sent us one of their fantastic reel lawn mowers as a bit of a housewarming gift. And, it arrived a day after the John Deere went in for repairs – perfect timing!

Garden Mentors founder driving John Deere lawn mower tractor

Pushing a Fiskars Stay-Sharp™ reel mower is easy — even on a hillside. (See that apron Robin’s wearing? Stay tuned for more about this great Roo Apron product we were given to trial**. That’s a topic for another blog post to come!)

Originally, we had intended to use the Fiskars Stay-sharp™ Max Reel mower under some the lower, weeping trees on the property where it’s really tough to drive the John Deere, and we had planned to use it on our septic mound where minimal weight impact is important. Yes, we can drive the motorized mower over the mound, but the area is small, so we’d prefer to keep as much weight off of this bio-filter as possible.

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But we decided to put our new reel mower to work when the abundant lawn clover began blooming profusely in the most-used part of our new lawn. We traverse this lawn multiple times a day. It’s a great fetching space for our dog, lounging space for us and while it does slope slightly, it’ll be a fun croquet and lawn bowling space.

Pushing Fiskars lawn mower

Our new Fiskars Stay-Sharp Reel mower is a breeze to use!

Clover is a wonderful plant in the lawn; we have no plans to try to eradicate it. It has the capacity to help add nitrogen to the soil for the grasses. It requires less water than lawn grasses. And, its lovely flowers are a boon to honeybees. But, too many of those bee-filled blooms in a barefoot zone can become challenging. So, when I found myself circling the lawn in sandals rather than risk a foot-sting, I pulled out the Fiskars reel mower and began cutting.

(Qualifying purchases made through affiliate &/or sponsored links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors.)

With the reel mower we were able to do a more precise and beautiful cutting job than we’d been able to do with the petrol-burning lawn tractor in this area. Now to be fair, the motorized mower needed some work, so we’ll see how it does once it’s fixed. But, the simple adjustable mow height option on the Fiskars reel mower made picking the perfect height easy. And, having a lawn catch attached to the reel mower meant we could collect up clippings in this bigger, denser lawn area — just wish it was a bigger or double catch for this big lawn! We found we got the best cut when we built up some momentum pushing, so I found myself jogging while pushing, which means I broke a light sweat but didn’t exhaust myself. It was fun! Now our “formal” lawn area is in gorgeous shape for the coming 4th of July weekend when we’ll be playing croquet, tossing frisbees for the dogs and lawn bowling with friends.

Just beyond the “formal” lawn area are the weeping trees where we haven’t been able to mow for a month. To clip those spots into shape, I used the easy hand lever to adjust the reel mower cutting height a bit taller. Then, I dropped the height and sheared down the adjacent spot that’s perfect for a tent in case friends want to camp. Well, actually, I may just throw up a tent here to enjoy all summer.

lawn under weeping trees

To the left of this path are weeping trees that easy to mow under with a reel mower. The sunlight is bathing a perfect spot for a tent!

Soon the John Deere lawn mower will be back, and we’ll have multiple lawn mowers! We’ll probably use it rather than the push lawn mower for the rest of the lawn acreage. Then again, maybe not. Burning less petrol and more fat on my butt is probably a better, healthier plan. The tractor may become more of a hauling tool.

Our long-term goal is to sheet mulch a large portion of the property to rid ourselves of much of the grass and re-create a more native planting habitat garden. But that project comes later — after we unpack lots of moving boxes that we can then cycle into this project and after we have some dead-wood trees chipped by Skagit-local New Leaf Arboriculture to top those boxes. It’s summer now, which isn’t an ideal time to begin a sheet mulching project, so we’ll continue to mow for the season and look ahead to fall and winter to begin recycling parts of the abundant lawn, boxes and wood chips back into the earth.

Full disclosure: we have been a paid writer for Fiskars in the past, but we received no compensation to use this product or write this post. We did receive the reel mower & catch shown in this post for free.

** Full disclosure: The folks at The Roo Gardening Apron company supplied us with a free Roo Apron to trial. We have received no compensation to use this product or write this post. We did receive the apron shown here for free.

(Qualifying purchases made through affiliate &/or sponsored links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors.)

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