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Alternatives to mowing

February 18, 2012

Mowing demands expensive machines, gasoline and time, and emits air pollution and a terrible noise. Poi fai, our water buffalo, do some of the mowing, but being a big animal he likes to use precious saplings to scratch bug bites, and to avoid that you need to supervise him and that demands time. I thought of an army of guinea pigs which we could eat as well, but we may get annoyed by too many holes and the garden may look like a rodent infestation. Goats eat everything and even climb trees, and so they are most unsuitable for a botanical garden. Their introduction would be like inviting Mr Bean and Charlie Chaplin into an antique store. We asked to breed small native deer but the CITES regulations stop us. Sheep like the hairy (i.e. wool-less) breed Santa Inez would be nice, at least in some fenced areas where they can not sabotage the vegetable section. Sheep are symbols of pastoral landscapes, but maybe not in Thailand? Ponies were once the main engines for pulling Thai taxi carts, but my experience from riding is that ponies may eat other plants than grass.

A columbi egg would be not to mow at all, a practice we adopt in the monsoon woodland, soon to be so shady there won’t be any weeds. The problem is that without mowing in sunny areas you get too many prickly South American weeds. Fire is the solution of the locals but that is terribly ugly and bad for the air. Do you have any suggestions?

Eric & Ketsanee

A mowing gardener has to protect his face from the tropical sun. His activity attracts the guinea fowl, here playing ‘chicken’.

P.S. We have a new litter of wild boar – six healthy piglets, two days old!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan Kerr permalink
    February 19, 2012 12:01 AM

    Use a different ground cover than grass.

    • February 19, 2012 8:31 AM

      A push mower for 4 hectares does not liberate time but yes, they are cheap. We do not really have a lawn, but a cut herbal floor. If we do not cut, the three South American mimosas will take over together with the South American ‘Mile a minute’ (Mikania micrantha) and the North American Chromolaena odorata. Ducks are good! We have three but they prefer to eat our vegetables 😉

  2. Brett permalink
    February 19, 2012 12:40 PM

    You may well have to rid yourself of the grass you have now, poison it (not an eco solution I know), and the weeds until its all gone. Then sow some non mow type of ground cover. We have many we can use in Australia, but I am not sure what you may use in Thailand.


    • February 19, 2012 12:44 PM

      That is an interesting option. My fear is that the invasive weeds which surrounds us will invade instantly. It is not a problem in the shade, but in the full sun such as in the vegetable section.

      Cheers, Eric

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