Newly Registered
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Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:17 pm
Location: NE Iowa

Transforming a lawn to a garden (help)

We have a space of lawn I would like to transform into a veggie garden. Right now it is just green grass. I know a place in town that will rent us a tiller, any ideas on how to make the transformation from lawn to veggie garden a success?
How can we keep weeds down?

Full Member
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:43 pm
Location: Elkhart, IN

I did the same thing last year. I put down landscaping fabric and that kinda helped with the weeds, but not all of them. I would have rather pulled them out by hand and kept the areas where I walked soft instead of compacting the soil. If you want to plant this year, then you cannot put down an herbicide. If you till, you will bring up old weed seeds that will germinate anyways, so you will still get weeds. The main problem that I had was that I had quackgrass growing in my garden. That grass grows by stolens that propagate any time you have any root pieces in the ground. I could pull a blade of grass that had a 12 inch root attatched!! Mulching will also keep your weeds down.


Senior Member
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: Zone 3 Canada

I did mine into a raised bed.

Step #1: I laid very thick layers of newspaper across the area I wanted to use.

Step #2: I cut 15" strips of heavy black plastic and lay it all along the outside edges of the newspapers overlapping a little.

Step #3: I was using cement blocks (stone works too) so I set the cement blocks on the black plastic .

Once the outside was set I filled the bed with about 12" of soil/compost mix and let it settle a little before planting.

It contains the weeds, allows a lovely place for planting and the newspapers soon disappear and you will have no problems. ALSO because it requires so much fill to finish the bed it encourages you to start small and keeps it easy for you to work that first summer. The following years I made additional beds......I really recommend it.

google "lasagna garden" two samples below

Cool Member
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:03 pm
Location: zone 4

When I converted lawn to garden, I just tilled that baby up! Then I went over the area with a garden rake & 3-tine cultivator to pick out all the chunks of sod.
Then I mulched everything right away; first w/ baled straw, & later w/ grass clippings on top. I mulch before I plant every year, rather than after. It keeps unplanted sections pretty clean until I'm ready for them, plus I get tighter coverage, especially where I direct seed.
Good luck!

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I used the newspaper method to turn two sections of lawn into flower beds.

Worked beautifully. I didn't till or do anything to the lawn first. Just be sure you water well first. Lay down the newspaper and water it until well dampened. Then lay down several inches of good soil/compost on top of the newspaper. Water again and plant into it. For planting plants (not seeds) you can cut holes in the newspaper, so the roots can grow down into the soil/ sod below.

I did not use the plastic and blocks, just a pound in edging to keep the lawn from coming back into the bed. And I used more like 3-4 ' of soil than 12." Worked fine.

Senior Member
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:37 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Last year about this time we took a 10 x 15 plot of grass and tilled it. We went through it many times and took out the sod and rocks we could see then we added 50/50 compost /loam to the top.
I was diligent about weeding and it wasn't bad at all.
Good luck!

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