Lawn is an interesting thing. Did you know America has more of it than any other country in the world? I learned this last summer, while reading a book on landscaping. You know something? It really made me stop and think, and planted ideas in my head, ideas I’ve been unable to root out since.
As a result, we actually aren’t planning to plant a grass lawn about our cottage. Our aim with the mountain farmstead is food production, and until life forces me to let go of my purist mindset (as it often does), even our lawn shall contribute to this all-consuming goal!
Which is why I’m planning to seed our “lawns” with clover, clover and even more white clover!
I’m glad you asked, because I’m just itching to share the details with you! I know my excitement sounds pitiful, but after years of not being able to, we finally get to shape the land and tailor it to meet our food-production needs.
I find the thought of making our food raising activities both easier and cheaper, exciting! Here’s why we’re going for clover, instead of a manicured, velvet grass lawn!
My First Why: Clover Makes Excellent Poultry Food
Did you know clover can act as a high protein food for poultry? True story! Particularly when you raise both ducks and heritage turkeys. These birds are excellent grazers, and offering them quality feeding grounds can drastically reduce the food bill, giving us healthy meat (and eggs) at less cost.
All we need is a (mostly) clover lawn, moveable pens and we’re in business! That is, if we can keep the deer at bay…! A good fence is in our near future. I hope.
My Second Why: Clover Feeds the Honeybees
Some day soon, we plan to have a tiny apairy here on our farmstead. FYI, this isnt just an “out there,” unrealistic goal we’ve set. It has a foundation!
About 3 summers ago, we pooled money with 8 other people and bought two nucs of bees. The colonies are established now, have expanded and as a group, we take care of them. My man has especially taken to beekeeping, and eventually, we hope to split a hive or two and bring them to live on our farmstead!
Bees need flowers! And while short, lawn grass doesn’t produce blossoms, clover does. So…why not plant clover?!
My Third Why: Clover Puts Nitrogen Into the Soil
It’s no secret that we have poor mountain soil. Prior to being cleared, our “lawn” grew a healthy stand of pine trees, a ground cover of bearberry and also Oregon grape!
Seeing as these plants grow best in poor, sandy soil, I don’t think we can have too much soil amending! Clover deposits nitrogen into the soil, something I suspect our 2.84 acres of earth is sorely lacking! Why not plant something that builds it up?
Clover clippings are also excellent for mulching garden beds. They not only suppress the weeds, but mulch feeds the soil as it breaks down. What could be more “soil building” than giving the garden a regular feeding of freshly-mowed, nitrogen rich clover?!
It All Makes Sense
If it will grow in our mountain soil, I want to plant a yard of clover, instead of grass. When our end goal is food production, clover fits like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle!
In fact, did you know clover used to be the preferred choice for lawns, a generation or so ago?
I’ve never planted white clover before. Shucks, I don’t even know if I’ve ever seeded a lawn in my life! It’s going to be a learning curve. And if it works, I think it’ll be a worthwhile endeavor!
Hi, I think in the spring I’m going to plant some clover. I have a small yard and 6 ducks. The ducks destroyed my grass making it a mud pit. I was looking up articles to make sure I’m not hurting my ducks with a lot of clover. I came across your site. Thank you for the information on clover.
Ducks love clover and my birds enjoy feeding on it. As long as I dont let them form a puddle, they haven’t been able to destroy it yet! 🙂
carolyn allen says
well I interested in how that worked for you? did you have to replant and replant each year? did it indeed help your poor soil – also what is your elevation?
Hi Carol! We haven’t had to replant our clover lawn. It keeps returning year after year, but it does need watering from time to time. It’s still too early to see the effect its having on our soil. Our elevation is about 2,400 ft.