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luckycrank

new garden

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I am considering removing a section of grass for a new garden.

is it best to remove sod as soon as I am able or wait for it to green up a bit?

What should my next step be as far as soil prep goes.

I will probally put a block parameter or such around it. thought about raising it just a couple inches to make mowing a little easier. But I am wondering how it will affect drainage.

Is there anything I should consider adding to the soil before tilling . should I apply any type of weed preventative such as preen .

Or is land scape fabric my best option for weed control. I used lawn clipping last year as suggested by a forum user and it worked ok.

the space I have is roughly 15'X 35' not overly huge but it is an area that gets direct sun much of the day. from sunrise till roughly 6 or 7pm it has a 6' privacy fence on the north side. which would border the garden. I will be growing strickly vegatables. thanks in advance for your input

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I am considering removing a section of grass for a new garden.

is it best to remove sod as soon as I am able or wait for it to green up a bit?

What should my next step be as far as soil prep goes.

I will probally put a block parameter or such around it. thought about raising it just a couple inches to make mowing a little easier. But I am wondering how it will affect drainage.

Is there anything I should consider adding to the soil before tilling . should I apply any type of weed preventative such as preen .

Or is land scape fabric my best option for weed control. I used lawn clipping last year as suggested by a forum user and it worked ok.

the space I have is roughly 15'X 35' not overly huge but it is an area that gets direct sun much of the day. from sunrise till roughly 6 or 7pm it has a 6' privacy fence on the north side. which would border the garden. I will be growing strickly vegatables. thanks in advance for your input

First chance you've got... Take out 2 inches of soil... If anything green comes out of this exposed area pluck it.

Second thing you want to do is buy a "Tomato Growers Test Kit" You can get one for about $3 at Fleet Farm... for that size garden, if it's all new exposer... I'd consider testing 2 different areas just to know.

Depending on what the results of the test kit tell you... Adjust from there. As soon as possible.

If you're planning on growing stuff like Tomatoes, Corn, peppers, potatoes... They love acid and early nitrogen... So you'll probably end up treating them with Lime.

But really... Once you know that test... You'll know where to adjust.

Then when you till... Till like a mad man, I'd do the whole thing 2-3 times over with a tiller, picking rock in between each session.

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I guess that I can't agree with removing the soil. Lot of work and a lot of material to get rid of, and I really don't see why you would want to get rid of probably some of the best soil you have. I have done this a number of times and I start by gassing it with a roundup type product. Give it a chance to kill things off and then I just till it up and remove the root clumps with a heavy rake.

I then went to the local compost site and got several pickup trucks full and put down 8-10 inches over the entire garden. I tilled it in. If I was smart I would have let that sit for 2-4 weeks and gas it again with the roundup. I got some gypsum pellets and liberally applied that to the entire area and worked that in.

As far as week control I have had decent luck putting down grass clippings. Trick there is to only put down about 2 inches at a time in an area so they don't start to rot. I got fresh wood chips when they trimmed trees in the area and they really worked well but ate up a lot of nitrogen over the second and third year.

You should hold off on doing any tilling until the soil has dried out a bit. It's a real pain to try and do it when it's too wet. You can probably get a soil test done for a reasonable amount and it will give you a very good idea what you need to add to the soil to make things work. The results differ if you are planting crops vs flowers.

Spend a little time looking at the Extension HSOforum through the U and you'll get some great pointers.

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Quote:
I am considering removing a section of grass for a new garden

If it was me I would just till it for the spring and then plant a cover crop early to mid summer. It will be a great garden next summer.

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Depending on the type of soil you have, you could always rent a sod cutter for cutting out the grass area too.

$50 +/- and you'll have rolls of sod (or just break them smaller with a shovel) which will be easier to get rid of, fill in a low spot, or whatever.

Just remember though that these rolls won't be as nice as a sod farm, you'll not want to start planning on using them to resod the back yard.

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Rent the sod cutter (much faster and easier on the hands than shovels). Set it deep.

Just turn over the sod, grass side down and spray the roots with roundup and cover with black plastic. Over the next 2 weeks I added a 2x12 cedar border for a raised garden (and keeping the lawn mower from throwing in stray grass seed). After two weeks, removed the plastic and hauled in "farmers mix" (half black dirt and half composted yard waste) from the composting store on hwy 169 to fill the "box". Then tilled it all together.

The sod was dead and chewed right up with the tiller and did not have volunteer grass coming up at all.

get the 'test' and test after the first tilling and run get what you need quick and till it in before you have to return the tiller eekeek .

Good luck.

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I guess that I can't agree with removing the soil. Lot of work and a lot of material to get rid of, and I really don't see why you would want to get rid of probably some of the best soil you have. I have done this a number of times and I start by gassing it with a roundup type product. Give it a chance to kill things off and then I just till it up and remove the root clumps with a heavy rake.

I then went to the local compost site and got several pickup trucks full and put down 8-10 inches over the entire garden. I tilled it in. If I was smart I would have let that sit for 2-4 weeks and gas it again with the roundup. I got some gypsum pellets and liberally applied that to the entire area and worked that in.

As far as week control I have had decent luck putting down grass clippings. Trick there is to only put down about 2 inches at a time in an area so they don't start to rot. I got fresh wood chips when they trimmed trees in the area and they really worked well but ate up a lot of nitrogen over the second and third year.

You should hold off on doing any tilling until the soil has dried out a bit. It's a real pain to try and do it when it's too wet. You can probably get a soil test done for a reasonable amount and it will give you a very good idea what you need to add to the soil to make things work. The results differ if you are planting crops vs flowers.

Spend a little time looking at the Extension HSOforum through the U and you'll get some great pointers.

Not sure what you have for grass... But my lawn is pretty heavy with Creeping Red Fescue... And every area that I haven't removed 101% of the grass when starting a new bed, has had grass come up... And then proliferate.

As for soil quality... There's nothing that says your lawn sod soil quality is going to be in line with the soil chemistry you need for your garden.

Every year I expand and now I follow that same formula... Remove... And then if needed I replace with soil, either from purchased black dirt or I dig some out of my back lot, whic to find something blacker than that soil you'd have to look for a collapsing neutron star in deep space!

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Tom hit the nail on the head with his advice. When breaking up sod for new garden here, it's a little tough with a front tined tiller, but killing it off with glyphosate first is a must if you're not planning on doing the organic thing. Leaving as much of the organic material behind is a plus too even though our organic matter levels are already high at 4 - 6%. That varies across the state as does texture from sand to heavy clay. By leaving the organic material in the soil, it just means that much less needs to be added later. We cheat here as we have an ample well rotted manure supply if we do need to add. One other thing, lime is used to raise the soil pH, not lower it. If you're planting acid tolerant plants and your soil pH comes back 5.5 or above, you're probably not going to be applying lime. And there is a wide pH range at which many vegetables will grow as evidenced by commercial vegetable production here in MN.

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I picked up a soil test kit from a local seed company and was already planning on renting a sod cutter. just gotta wait for the snow to melt meanwhile im still gathering info. thanks all'

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When I've cut flower/perennial beds or vegetable garden beds out of lawn sod, I've used Roundup and waited until the kill was complete, and then tilled/spaded and raked everything in to add some organic matter to lighten the soil.

Certainly this depends on how light/heavy your soil is at the get-go.

Mostly, when I cut veggie beds they are raised beds, so it's easy to lay the bed, kill the grass and spade/rake it, adding enough soil and compost to fill the bed. I don't bother with a sod cutter unless I'm really doing a large bed. I've cut/shaved off a lot of sod with a flat sharp shovel, and it's not much more work than using the sod cutter. In a large area, sod cutter for sure if you don't want to use the Roundup/tiller method.

For clients, I would definitely get the soil tested. For myself, I've been growing green things for 35 years, and I just tend to wing it based on experience.

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I'm interested in knowing what the advantage is in cutting out the sod. There are going to be plenty of weed seeds in just about any soil you expose to the right conditions and so getting rid of the top 2 inches as some have suggested is something I can't understand.

I have an area that my wife used for a perennial garden for at least 10 years and during that time she kept the weeds under control with a variety of methods. She got tired of doing it there and so a year ago I tore out her stuff and tilled it up, put in some compost and planted a wildflower garden with seed from Prairie Restoration. The entire garden filled up with what I was told was pig weed and I chopped it back three times. At the end of the season a few wildflower plants started to show. The guys at Prairie Resto told me to wait and see what happens this year.

So, my point is that I think you're going to get unwanted material growing for a while no matter what you do. You have to beat that back for a year or so before you're going to get any success.

So, why dump 2 inches of soil?

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lol! I was kinda wondering the same thing. After hauling boo-koo 5 gallon buckets of water from one barn to the next for the last month, my back is about shot. Anything that remotely sounds like extra garden work at this point bites. grin About the only thing I can see a gain from is if you have lots of grubs or wireworms, you may remove some of them with the sod. The other negative I've found sometimes about leaving lots of residue on the surface is it can attract seed corn maggots. But at least I like my women just a little on the trashy side. wink

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Round up?????

Till Up

and then let it sit for a little bit and plant it up!

Plant, let the weeds grow for a little bit, and once you are positive your plants have rooted in. go and pull all the weeds by hand and preen the whole garden? not sure if preen is safe for garden veggies though. but it should work to keep the weeds from re-appearing

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There is a Preen that's rated for vegetables, but make sure which vegetables are listed.

Personally I wouldn't use any chemicals that "sterilize" the ground where vegetables are being planted that I was eventually going to eat.

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Personally I wouldn't use any chemicals that "sterilize" the ground where vegetables are being planted that I was eventually going to eat.

Which chemicals would those be? I don't know of any mentioned in this thread that make the ground sterile.

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I guess I should clarify.

By sterilizing when it comes to Preen I mean weed seeds, not completely sterile as some chemicals do.

I'm just not a big fan of using any chemicals in fresh vegetable gardens.

But then again, I contradict myself since I eat processed foods, fast food, nor am I naive enough to not realize that 99.9% of the food we eat is treated chemically.

Hence round up ready corn and soybeans.

Plus, even with Preen or chemicals like it, it isn't going to completely remove the weeding aspect either.

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You could lay come clear plastic down and let the sun take care of business for a couple warm months. No chemicals or labor.

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Just curious how that clear plastic is going to work on a heavy clay loam soil (a Webster) that tends to be relatively poorly drained at times. My gut feeling is it might create more problems than it solves in some instances. And no, I'm not going to dig off 2" with the skidloader on a 40' by 70' area and mix in some sand! grin

I use chemicals sparingly and only advocate their use when absolutely necessary. That's part of what IPM is all about. Use of glyphosate to take out perennial grasses such as quackgrass prior to gardening an area is essential given the time constraints some have. Frequently in the country where we don't have pristine, weed-free lawns that's one of the species we have to deal with. Everyone's gardening scenario is a little different, no different than the farmers I work with on a daily basis.

Preen is trifluralin which was sold for many years as Treflan in the ag sector until the patent came off and it went generic. Trifluralin is good on the foxtails, crabgrass, sandburs, and does a fairly good job on small seeded annual broadleaves such as lambsquarters and several of the pigweed family weeds. Some plants it's not labelled on include beets, eggplant, horseradish, kale, lettuce, parsnip, sweet corn, and sweet potatoes.

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I would put down black poly, not clear if I was going to do it that way. The sun will take care of the grass then. But the smell and mess under neath that black poly will be nice and fun to take out smile

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The idea is to heat the soil to a point of killing vegetation and weed seeds. The clear poly allows the sun to heat the ground and retain the heat. I don't put any chemicals in my food source.

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So you are saying the black plastic won't work??

Ive laid a lot of black poly down in my day, and on a sunny day id much rather be holding or working with clear plastic vs black. The black absorbs the heat so I would think it would retain it even better then clear

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So you are saying the black plastic won't work??

Ive laid a lot of black poly down in my day, and on a sunny day id much rather be holding or working with clear plastic vs black. The black absorbs the heat so I would think it would retain it even better then clear

I've found that Black will indeed heat the soil more, and faster and will kill the weeds more effectively than clear.

The ancillary concern is if you get the soil too hot that you will begin either killing beneficial microbes... And/or promoting certain fungal growths.

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Till, and top dress with a 50/50 pulverized/compost mix and you should be fine. Plus it would be really hot for those fungus' to start growing.

In all honesty there isnt much snow out there anymore. I would mark off your ground right now and start shaving layers of dirt and old grass off now while it is easy to do.

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