Tuesday, February 26, 2013
In case you are thinking about turning a location of lawn into a garden bed, your first step will be to eliminate the grass. You can take different routes to accomplish this: Those that yield rapid results can require considerable effort, while less labor-intensive methods may take at least a season to produce results. Allow me to share two methods for turning well-established turf into a bed ready for planting. Each method has its pros and cons, but all will get you one step closer to the bed you've been dreaming of.
This method produces quick, clean results and enables you to plant your garden immediately. But using a spade or fork to remove sod can result in a lot of perspiration and sore muscles. If the sod is in good condition, you can use it somewhere else in your yard. Water the area a short time ahead of time to make the soil easier to work. The soil should be moist but not soggy. Condensed soil is not only heavy but additionally vulnerable to compaction, which results in poor plant growth. Reduce the sod into parallel strips 1 foot wide using an edger or sharp spade. These types of strips can then be cut into 1- to 2-foot lengths, with respect to the density of the turf and the breadth of the pieces. Following, pry up one end of a piece of sod and slide the spade or fork under it. Cut through any deep taproots, and lift out the pre-cut piece, making sure to include the grass’s fibrous roots. If the underside of the sod contains much loose soil, a fork may work best, as this soil can be shaken back onto the surface when the sod is lifted.
Breaking apart sod having a tiller requires some muscle, but most of the work is done by the tiller’s engine. Small tillers usually can handle previously worked gardens, but splitting up more developed sod needs a heavier, rear tire unit and may require more than one pass. After tilling the bed, get rid of and shake the soil from the remaining clumps of grass.
One good thing about tilling is that the original organic matter is retained in the garden as the sod is turned under. You can organic matter by forking or shoveling compost, manure, grass clippings, or leaf mold onto the sod before tilling.
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