Lawn mowers, particularly higher-end models known as garden tractors, can be pretty versatile machines. A bare-bones unit without any extras might do little more than mow grass, but when you equip it with the right attachments, a lawn mower can become a surprisingly capable and effective machine that can tackle a wide variety of farming tasks.
Need convincing, or a little inspiration? That’s where we come in. Here are five things you should be doing with your lawn mower (besides, of course, mowing grass).
1. Clearing Snow
For a machine designed primarily for delicate yard work, I’m amazed at how the addition of tire chains, wheel weights and a snow plow or snow blower attachment can turn a lawn mower into a serviceable snow-clearing machine. Riding the mower sure beats walking behind a traditional snow blower, right? You might even be able to get a little enclosed cab for your lawn mower to keep the snow from blowing back at you.
2. Hauling Most Anything
Get a cart or wagon for your lawn mower and you can carry most things you need to haul on a small farm. I’ve moved water, hay, animal bedding, rocks, compost, sod, tree branches, debris, young fruit trees and countless other things using a mower and a few different wagons, including my trusty red wagon. You might be surprised at how much weight your lawn mower can pull, especially if it’s a heftier model.
3. Aerating Your Lawn
Carts and wagons aren’t the only pieces of equipment you can pull behind your mower. For example, a lawn aerator is a great tool for improving soil drainage and increasing the levels of oxygen and nutrients in your soil. Some small lawn aerators can be pushed by hand—we covered the various types here—but larger models for bigger yards are designed to be pulled by a lawn mower. Doesn’t it make sense to expand your mower’s lawn-care capabilities to include lawn aeration?
4. Tilling and Cultivating Soil
Just as you can tow a lawn aerator, you can also tow tillers and cultivators to work your soil. You won’t cover acres of land with these small machines, but if you’re a typical hobby farmer looking to cultivate a small garden plot, this can be a more affordable option than a full-size unit for use with a utility tractor. What’s better than putting to use the power of a lawn mower that you already own?
5. Loading and Dumping With a Front-End Loader
Higher-end lawn mowers might have support for the installment of a small front-end loader, opening up endless possibilities for loading, shifting and dumping loose materials such as manure, garden compost, dirt and debris. Your lawn mower doesn’t have the strength and ability of a utility tractor with a front-end loader, but as with using tillers or cultivators, this can be a convenient way to stay on a budget while expanding your lawn mower’s capabilities.
What are some unusual or surprising jobs that you like to tackle with your lawn mower?