Alastair just came back from a Scything Workshop in West Hoathely, West Sussex buzzing with enthusiasm and excitement to scythe the high grass in the Forest Garden. Having watched him for a while, I enjoyed giving it a try too whilst having Fynn on my back.
I interviewed Al why scything is a good thing to do in a forest garden and he responded the following…
Why scything makes sense?
- low cost as it doesn’t require petrol
- you can be more selective in what you cut, e.g. ripwort plantain is best to leave as it draws up nutrients for other plants
- wildlife can get out of the way more easily
- healthy activity (you are practicing meditative movements and also you are not inhaling any toxic fumes)
On a more personal note, Al enjoys the body practice of the repetitive scything movements. He says it helps him relax and get into a meditative flow while strengthening the core of his body. Being a martial Art Cheng Hsin practitioner, he probably picked it up more easily and likewise the movements help him to practice martial art principles. It is great to see the results at the end of a work (out) day.
Once the grass is cut it stays in one strand rather than being chopped into little bits by a strimmer, and is easier to handle. You can make compost heaps quite easily of it.
If you got interested in scything yourself, look out for a scything workshop at The Quadrangle Forest Garden next summer!
Below some magical beings who would not have been with us if we had used a strimmer instead of a scythe.