9 Reasons Why You Should Start Mowing with a Scythe

by: Sara on 10/13/2016

When I heard we were going to be publishing a book about scything I was really excited. I love the idea of making old ideas new again and returning to a simpler time, as well as reflecting on how we use past technology in modern times ie. the noisy weed whacker!

But I got really excited when I read the Foreword by Kiko Denzer and he mentions using the scythe on blackberries! I have a huge blackberry issue and I spend most of the spring and summer trying to get them under control with a crappy old pair of clippers...so before going the route of a goat I am going to find myself a scythe! Below are 9 Reasons you should start mowing with a scythe from Ian Miller, the author of The Scything Handbook: Learn How to Cut Grass, Mow Meadows, and Harvest Grain with a Scythe.

1. Free Mulch, Free Mulch and More Free Mulch


Author using scythe

Author Ian Miller using the scythe

Your backyard garden is likely situated right in the middle of a free source of mulch: your lawn. Powered and reel mowers damage grass too much to realistically dry for hay to use as mulch. Mowing with the scythe leaves blades of grass at their full length for drying into hay. The benefits of mulching cannot be overstated, from weed suppression to soil moisture retention to building soil organic matter.

2. Composting

 Hay and/or straw piled alternately with food scraps and manure from backyard livestock will make for fantastic compost.

3. Keeping Backyard Livestock Suddenly Becomes Doable

Winter fodder and bedding are among the biggest challenges and expenses of keeping animals through the winter. When you make hay and grow grains with a scythe, you can feed and provide bedding for backyard chickens, small flocks of sheep or goats, a house cow, a hobby horse and more...all for free!

4. No More Noise!

Who isn't familiar with the annoying drone of lawn mowers, whether from the neighbors or from your own household? Mowing with the scythe is quiet as can be. 

5. No More Pollution!

Gas mowers are a huge source of pollution. The emit more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons--probable carcinogens--than cars. Switch to emissions-free mowing with the scythe.

6. Grow Your Own Grains

Did you know you can grow enough grain for one 1.5 pound loaf of bread per week for a year in just a few hundred square feet of biointensive garden beds? Reap with a scythe, thresh by rubbing against hardware cloth that has been stapled to a sheet of plywood, and winnow with a fan. Sprout or mill and ferment for maximum nutrition!

7. Mow the Lawn

There's no reason why you couldn't just switch to a scythe for mowing your lawn. Allow the grass to grow as long as you're comfortable letting it grow (check local ordinances for maximum grass length allowed) and peen your blade to maximum sharpness.

8. Deindustrialize

Take an important step toward freeing your life from dependence on products produced by polluting large industries.

9. Stress Reduction

 Mowing with the scythe promotes mind-body connection. Repetitive motions performed with ease helps evoke the relaxation response in the body, the antidote to the physiological stress response and it's associated stress hormones like cortisol.


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