Saturday, November 5, 2016

Investing in a Lawn Sweeper - Is it Worth it?

This post contains affiliate links.

Growing up in Palm Springs, I felt deprived of the quintessential autumn fun that most of the U.S. enjoys (Well, besides New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah - I feel you, desert states!).  I'm an October baby and I've always been drawn to the fall season.  I loved seeing the leaves changing colors, dancing gracefully to the ground in a blustery wind on movies and postcards. I even hung "Scenic Vermont" calendars in my room and dreamed of a "true Autumn" while trying to work flip flops and sunscreen in to my trick-or-treating costume.  I adapted to the heat and learned to expect it (It was 100 degrees on our wedding day - in December), but the monotony was always a disappointment. Sand, Ocotillo cactus, gravel, and Aloe Vera plants don't budge a bit as the seasons pass. No loss, no gain, no color, no change.
So, the first fall season here at Rehoboth Farm was a true delight!

A glorious time of celebration, leaf angels, acorn discovery, and jubilant raking.....all 2 1/2 acres....twice.

We keep a no-till garden (based on the principles taught in the Back to Eden film) and are forever looking for a healthy "covering" to apply each season.  We had invested in several loads of wood mulch to get started and intended to purchase more, but didn't have the money yet. So when "free mulch" just started falling "right out of the sky" we knew it was a blessing and an opportunity. So, we raked and gathered...

and raked and gathered....

and raked and gathered...

But, after the 20th wheelbarrow trip to the garden our enthusiasm was starting to dim. Somehow we managed to get every leaf moved to our garden patch for an overwinter covering, put the rakes away, and glowed in gratitude for all the "free" mulch.

The second year...not so much. I was 8 months along in my second pregnancy when the first leaves began to fall.  There was no jubilation to be had. The Renaissance Man was scrambling to complete a nursery (complete like 'walls and doors' not 'cute elephant pillows and teddybear lamps') and didn't have a free moment to gather his thoughts, let alone gather piles and piles of leaves and haul them across the yard.  Our 7 year old raked a pile or two, but mostly the leaves blew out to the back field and weren't dealt with at all. I felt helpless and frustrated (hormones weren't helping).

We started thinking quite a bit about a lawn sweeper and the pros and cons of the investment.  With the baby coming and the season over, we knew it wouldn't be something we considered seriously until the following year, so my husband started his typical research process (insanely thorough) and eventually narrowed it down to a few options. They were a lot more expensive than I initially thought.  I (ever the cheapskate) rallied for a push behind sweeper to save money, but with over 2 acres to sweep, I knew it really wouldn't be a wise choice.  We went back and forth on what we were willing to spend. I asked over and over would we really use it that often? Would it be worth it in the end?
We ultimately chose the Brinly Tow Behind Lawn Sweeper, 42-Inch and the answer is YES. SO WORTH IT!

We put it to use right away.  Late in the summer season my husband put the mower on the "mulch" setting, pulled the lawn sweeper behind him, and collected enough grass clipping to cover an 80'x65' garden area almost 12" high! We figured it would kill the weeds off and help prep the garden for overwintering. I didn't get a picture of that - but, here's the start of our new garden, using the same method:

Much to our surprise - without any watering, tending, or attention for over a month - the tomato plants, basil, Zinnias, and bean plants that were left over from a dud crop (and buried almost a foot under grass clippings) suddenly came back to life - with vigor!  They were blooming right out of the top of the heaping grass piles and we were enjoying a surprise fall garden! I know gardening logic says that the nitrogen overload would stunt fruit production if not kill the plants altogether (especially since they were pretty well gone to start) but, just look at these tomatoes:

So, we begin collecting lawn clippings regularly.  We found LOTS of uses for them:

1. We dumped them in the chicken run.  The chickens could level a 2 foot pile in a matter of minutes, digging and scratching for crittery treats.  And as the grass clippings decompose, they leave a powdery compost in place - no more mud!

2. We dumped them around the chicken coop. The weight and heat of the pile killed the Bermuda grass and weeds so our daughter could get to the nest boxes more easily - no more weed eater!

3. We started a new garden a little closer to the house for herbs and seasonal veggies - no more trekking to the back forty for a tomato!

And soon enough, Autumn came again...and with it - more free mulch! 


I was so glad to see the lawn sweeper clear the yard in minutes - no more raking!

The whole 2 1/2 acres was done in under an hour - and I had beautiful piles of phosphorus-rich covering waiting to cover my new herb garden!

In conclusion, the Renaissance Man doesn't use the lawn sweeper every time he mows, just when the leaves fall, the garden needs a boost, weeds need controlling, chickens need a snack, mud needs covering, or we're starting a new growing area...etc.  And we've found that for us - that's enough to be worth it!

A few notes:
I am not receiving anything from the Brinly company for this review. I HONESTLY just love the lawn sweeper and want you to know it!
However, Rehoboth Farm is part of the Amazon Affiliate program. Our family business will receive a small commission if you choose to purchase this product through one of the links on this page. 

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