Boodee
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:29 am

Kill grass & weeds prior to tilling for vegetable garden?

So this year I plan on expanding my garden. In years past, I've just used raised garden beds. Now I'm expanding to my backyard which will require tilling.

I'm borrowing a tiller from my neighbor, he's telling me I need to kill the grass and weeds before I till. He's telling me I need to use a diluted round up mixture and then after a month it will be fine to plant my garden. I'm looking for alternatives and advice. Please help!!

Peter1142
Green Thumb
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:23 pm
Location: SE NY ZONE 6B

Re: Help!!

Get a spade, get on your knees and dig it all up, pulling up all the roots. Immediately make your rows/planting spaces and mulch heavily with a good heavy mulch like composted ground hardwood. Worked for me!

Your neighbor is correct a standard tiller is not going to be sufficient.
Zone 6b SE NY
My blog Peter's Vegetable Garden

ButterflyLady29
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: Help!!

I had lawn that was tilled in November, then in May and planted. It did pretty well in the areas I got planted. Mulch helps keep the grass from growing again. Newspaper or cardboard covered with wood chips or a thick layer (2 to3 inches) of mowed grass keep the remaining roots from sprouting again.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11623
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Help!!

If you rent a sod cutter or you can use a spade and dig out the grass or you can cover the area with newspaper or cardboard a few weeks and block the light and water and it should die off. A tiller is not designed to dig through grass and it can wind around the tiller and make a mess.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

ButterflyLady29
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: Help!!

I should add that I don't have a standard tiller. It's a heavy duty tiller that is designed to break new ground.

Before you do any tilling or sod cutting or mulching, mow the lawn area as low as your mower will go without cutting into the soil. Sometimes just cutting the grass that close will kill it.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28183
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Help!!

Is the back yard going to be set up with raised beds or are you going to be preparing in-ground beds?

For raised beds, I don't till or dig but simply use garden fork to fracture the ground then cover with cardboard and build the raised bed on top.

I also like building mounded wide beds for which I only use sod cutter and spade the sod off the path area, which is piled upside down onto top of the still sodded, garden fork fractured rows, then I mound all the topsoil from the paths then weedy compost, cover with paper, weed free compost and bagged soil, and then mulch. (Basically sheet mulched rows.) No tilling for this either, though some people will till the path to loosen the top soil. I just scrape until I hit the clay subsoil.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

B-T-S
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:19 am
Location: Burns KS

Re: Help!!

You can brake ground with a tiller, we have done it a lot in the past, it is really hard work and takes a long time to get deep enough, make sure to start really shallow and work you way deeper but make sure your neighbor has a good tiller, you don't want to be buying him a new one. You don't half to spray the grass to kill it, just work the ground good and you should be fine. Maybe look on craigslist for someone who will plow your garden with a garden tractor and plow, I have my own tractor that I use and you can't beat it for braking ground.

Here is a youtube video of a garden tractor plowing


Good luck

User avatar
webmaster
Site Admin
Posts: 9229
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 5:59 pm
Location: Amherst, MA USDA Zone 5a

Re: Kill grass & weeds prior to tilling for vegetable garden

I fixed the video link so it shows inline. Simply paste the link like this:

[youtudotbe]https://youtu.be/FFHQyeIrsqk[/youtudotbe]

B-T-S
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:19 am
Location: Burns KS

Re: Kill grass & weeds prior to tilling for vegetable garden

[quote="webmaster"]I fixed the video link so it shows inline. Simply paste the link like this:





Thank you so much

Vanisle_BC
Greener Thumb
Posts: 988
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:02 am
Location: Port Alberni, B.C. Canada, Zone 7 (+?)

Re: Help!!

B-T-S wrote:make sure your neighbor has a good tiller, you don't want to be buying him a new one.
Very valuable advice! Been there, done that. I believe it was a good tiller - for an established garden, but not up to the job of breaking ground. By the time I realised it was overheating it was too late. After I bought him a new one I didn't dare borrow it ever again, and we stayed friends.
"There are two kinds of people in the world - those who think there are two kinds of people in the world, and those who do not" - Robert Benchley

Boodee
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:29 am

Re: Kill grass & weeds prior to tilling for vegetable garden

Thanks for all your advice, looks like I'll be getting down and dirty this weekend!

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5395
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Kill grass & weeds prior to tilling for vegetable garden

DO NOT put round up or other toxic poison on your garden soil.

When the weather is right and moisture in the soil is right I till my garden every day for 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks all grass and weeds are dead and all seeds have sprouted and tried to grow and they are dead too.

First till is slow to break soil up into powder, no dirt clogs, no mud balls. If I till soil too wet I get mud balls that are very hard to get rid of. My soil has lots of clay your soil may do better.

Once I have the soil tilled up fairly soft each till after that can be faster just to stir up the soil and kill roots and plants. It takes me about 90 minutes to till my garden first time then 5 minutes each time after that. This year I will have a 60'x60' garden.

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Kill grass & weeds prior to tilling for vegetable garden

Create a light barrier out of cardboard. Build a raised bed on top of your light barrier. Fill raised bed with yard waste. Start your garden a little late. Skip onion and carrots for the first year (your soil isn't ready for it). Keep a mulch over your whole raised beds.

This fall if you are having a Martha Stewart moment you can plant a cover crop and till THAT under in the next spring.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”