BG5150
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How to get a small plot ready for planting?

I have a plot that is about 5x15. It usued to have a shrub which we removed. Now it's an "empty" plot, but has tons of weeds and some ivy (along with some of those white landscaping stones the former owner had deposited next to the house).

How can I clear that out and get it ready to plant some flowers or vegetables?

I was thinking of using some ivy killer, and then just turning over all the soil and using some Preen.

Then wait a few days and cover with some top soil.

Will that work? And still not sure how to get rid of those stupid landscaping stones. :(

TZ -OH6
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Stay away from the Preen and selective weed killers especially if you want to plant vegetables. Preen is somewhat toxic, and the selective weed killers generally have a long residence time in the soil. Glyphosate (Roundup) is a general weed killer (grass and broadleaf weeds) and has a short residence time in the soil, which is why they use it on farm land, but pretty much anything else will screw up anything you try to grow in that area for the whole year.

Another option is to deep dig the soil (turn it over) so that the weed seeds get burried, and then mulch well so that any sprouting seeds can't get going.

Susan W
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My suggestion, ...
After a good rain, or if not water very well. Next day go in with that deep fork and turn, pull out everything, put in baggie to the curb. After that could do the roto-till. .
Next, are you planning to put in a few pretties this season or wait til spring?
Either, can put in some top soil and whatever compost stuff the store has.
I would then have a good layer of mulch (leaves, and I use shredded hardwood), work up in spring. If spring planting, go back do a deep dig again, and add all the goodies of top soil, compost etc.

I have at least one area that needs this treatment. I figure to just go in and dig it out!
Have fun!
Susan

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rainbowgardener
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For an area that size, it's not hard to do sheet mulching....

Water well, lay down a couple layers of cardboard or a whole bunch of layers of newspaper, water well again. Then add 3-4 inches of topsoil and compost, perhaps with a bit of potting soil and/or peat moss mixed in to lighten it up. Water and plant into that. If you are putting in shrubs or big plants, you will need to cut a hole in the cardboard for them. If you are planting seeds, you can just plant them into the soil on top.

You don't have to spray anything or pull anything, the weeds will be smothered by the cardboard. Eventually the cardboard breaks down and disappears and you have a beautiful deep veggie bed. I did it to turn some of my lawn into flower beds and it worked very nicely.
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Hispoptart
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It seems how to prepare the soil has been covered with all good advice. As for getting rid of the rocks, we used rock rake and just raked them up and then hauled them out in a wheel barrel. You won't get them all but you will get most of them. Now I just hand pick them as I see them.

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gixxerific
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I second the sheet mulching. It does work wonders. I prefer4 newspaper over cardboard as it breaks down faster. Plus I save up newspapers just for this reason. As rainbow just layer wet newspaper (the wet helps it lay on the ground and not fly around). Than fill with some soil, compost, leaves, grass clippings etc any combination. And you are good to go. If the weeds are real think maybe take a hoe or something to them to knock the down a bit but leave them there as a green mulch.

AS far as the stones just take a shovel an pop them up. Unless they are BIG stones (like a several hundred lb stones) They may need to be broken up into smaller more easy to handle pieces.

garden5
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Welcome the the Helpful Gardener :D!

Well, if you don't want to go the sheet-mulching route, you could simply pull/hoe the weeds, mix some compost into the soil, and then plant.

Oh, for the stones, just rake up what you can and hand-pick what surfaces over time.

Next, after the plants come up, you can mulch them and that will help to keep future weeds suppressed.
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Susan W
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I admit I was thinking about a patch I have that will need more than sheet mulching. I saw woody vines and can relate! I have a somewhat neglected area that is a mix of woody spready things, persistent starts of elm, pecan and other trees, a dead azalea and more. I am thinking a big dig, pulling out stuff, then new dirt, cardboard layer etc, then more dirt/compost etc.

I keep putting off this project in part as I don't know what to put there!
Have fun!
Susan

garden5
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Susan W wrote:I admit I was thinking about a patch I have that will need more than sheet mulching. I saw woody vines and can relate! I have a somewhat neglected area that is a mix of woody spready things, persistent starts of elm, pecan and other trees, a dead azalea and more. I am thinking a big dig, pulling out stuff, then new dirt, cardboard layer etc, then more dirt/compost etc.

I keep putting off this project in part as I don't know what to put there!
.....blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, fruit trees, asparagus....the list goes on (and makes me hungry :lol:).

How big is your area? Where is it located, ie. under a shade tree, nest to the house, out in the open?
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