Sunuwavi
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:30 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Help me start my new vegetable garden?

Hi!

I live in an urban area and I plan to start a vegetable garden. I just moved into a house that has a nice big yard, whereas before I was living in apartments.

Here's the thing:
The lawn is thick with grass. I'd like to cut out a fairly large area to grow in.

Here's what I'm wondering:
Should I create the area now before the ground freezes or wait until spring?
Should I take the grass out and compost it or should I till it into the soil?
What kind of tool would be best for doing all of this?
Any suggestions on dimensions for the garden? I was going to go with 16'x16'. Will that be an overwhelming size to start with?

Give me a play by play! I've never started my own garden before, although I've helped with planting in already established gardens. Any advice would be quite welcome, thanks!

Charlie MV
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1544
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 3:48 am

I would stake down a 16x 16 or 24x24 tarp for the winter. That will take care of the grass. Over the winter start a compost pile. When you're ready to plant, till the area while mixing in the compost and some manure

Your local county extension probably has a good websight for specific local instructions as well as free soil testing. The soil test will tell you what to add in the way of fertilizer. Our local extension has fairly decent help for both organic and chemical gardeners. I used all organic methods this year and had great results.

petalfuzz
Green Thumb
Posts: 632
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 7:37 pm

Re: Help me start my new vegetable garden?

Sunuwavi wrote:Hi!
Here's what I'm wondering:
Should I create the area now before the ground freezes or wait until spring?
Should I take the grass out and compost it or should I till it into the soil?
What kind of tool would be best for doing all of this?
Any suggestions on dimensions for the garden? I was going to go with 16'x16'. Will that be an overwhelming size to start with?

Give me a play by play! I've never started my own garden before, although I've helped with planting in already established gardens. Any advice would be quite welcome, thanks!
Hello and welcome from NW Ohio! I've done it both ways and will tell you what I learned:
1. The first plots I dug I removed the grass (sod) and composted it. Big Mistake!! You try turning the compost pile when it has huge clumps of grass roots and dirt! Impossible! I physically had to tear each clump with my hands into smaller hand-sized chunks and it was a nightmare! Of course, I did this in spring because I needed to use the plot right away.

2. The next plots I dug this fall I removed the sod with a spade and turned it over. I left it a few days for the plant to go into distress. I then broke up the sod clumps with a hoe (but the one I have has pointy teeth--don't know what to call this tool) and it was much easier than doing it by hand! I then tilled the sod (which was by then reduced to topsoil and organic material :wink: ) back into the top 12" inches or so with my garden fork.

I suppose that the grass plant will then die and get eaten by worms this fall and winter and will be all ready to plant by this spring. That's the theory anyway. Whenever you remove grass you always have to be on the lookout for any grass blades trying to make a comeback!

If I was you, I'd search for lasagna gardening, which is tons easier if you don't have to plant right away. I can't do it in my garden because I have heavy clay soil that I needed to amend and don't want to mess with raised beds.

I have to be completely honest: I established my newest bed at 120 sq ft this fall. I had to remove the sod, break it up and till it in with my other amendments. It took me over 24 hours of pure back-breaking labor. I did 2 hours/day for 2 weeks. I hope to never do that again!! Come spring I'm going to fork it over and plant and that'll be it since it's destined to become a perennial bed anyway and will only get top-dressed from now on. Whew!

P.S. Your dimensions sound fine, just be sure to leave designated areas for walking paths. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

How about Square Foot Gardening? Use landscape cloth as the base for your raised bed, build the (usually small) bed, and fill it with the prescribed mix.

Plant and enjoy. (At least, if you get enough sun during the summer, which we did not, not this year, anyway...)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Grunta0
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:24 pm
Location: Oz

It depends on what type of grass it is.
If it is a runner type grass we call buffalo you are better to dig it up and throw it away (don't bother trying to compost it).

With other types of grass you can build raised beds, layer the bottom with newspaper, and put your soil in on top. The grass will die. I have done this several times and it works well (use plenty of newspaper.)

This type of garden (which I got from a book called "no dig gardening") has the added bonus/s of draining well and you also know you have good soil.
I'm so unlucky I couldn't win a kick in a street fight.

aagardener
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:59 am
Location: nj

Before you go digging up your lawn make sure you know where, and how much sun the area you are choosing will get. There might not be leaves on the trees now, so you may be lead to believe you will be getting sunlight, but once the leaves fill in you may have shade. Also the angle of the sun changes with the seasons, thus effecting the sunlight on your garden as well.

brettim1
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:32 pm
Location: oxfordshire

hi just joined looks good

HI yes just joined lots of good tips just started my own alloment .lots of digging.
so what should i start planting oncne done with the digging :lol:

brettim1
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:32 pm
Location: oxfordshire

found this good gardening tips site

found this good gardening tips site.hope this is ok to tell people about other places.https://gardningforbeginners.com/

Return to “What Doesn't Fit Elsewhere”