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  1. #1
    Veteran Member kiotiken's Avatar
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    Default Converting a lawn to a garden

    I'm a first time gardener and need some advice for converting a lawn area to a garden.

    My plan is to do a 50' X 30' garden. I have a walk behind tiller (rear tine) to play with as well as my tractor. The soil is heavier clay with no rocks. I have two thoughts on how to start and need to know which way to go.

    1) Use the teeth on my box blade to tear up the area I want to garden. Then till the area a few times turning and breaking down the grass. Bring in manure and till that in to the soil.

    2) Use the tractor to scrape off the top layer of soil. Till the area a few times and then mix in the manure.

    For case 1 I'm worried about the amount of grass and weeds I'll have to deal with and for case 2 I'm worried about taking too much of the nice soil away.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Converting a lawn to a garden

    Cut the sod along the edges of your proposed garden first to make straight edge lines, (sod will tear in weird directions), then use the front bucket to scrape off the sod. Just don't get too greedy and pay close attention to how deep you are going. Don't go any deeper than 2 inches. (5cm) Then till in the manure.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Converting a lawn to a garden

    Quote Originally Posted by Looking4new View Post
    Cut the sod along the edges of your proposed garden first to make straight edge lines, (sod will tear in weird directions), then use the front bucket to scrape off the sod. Just don't get too greedy and pay close attention to how deep you are going. Don't go any deeper than 2 inches. (5cm) Then till in the manure.
    If you have really heavy clay, you may want to add some sand to the mix. Also, consider mulching where you haven't planted. It will help suppress weeds. Next spring, you can till it in too.

  4. #4

    Default

    The problems occur when sand and clay are mixed in incorrect proportions. An ideal soil has 50% pore space (with the remainder consisting of minerals and organic matter). The pore spaces in a clay soil are all small, while those in a sandy soil are all large. When one mixes a sandy and a clay soil together, the large pore spaces of the sandy soil are filled with the smaller clay particles. This results in a heavier, denser soil with less total pore space than either the sandy or the clay soil alone. (A good analogy is the manufacture of concrete, which entails mixing sand with cement - a fine particle substance. The results are obvious.) A soil must consist of nearly 50% sand by total volume before it takes on the characteristics of a sandy soil. For most sites, it would be prohibitively expensive to remove half the existing soil and add an equal volume of sand and then till it to the necessary 18-24". Mineral amendments of large particle size, such as perlite, may provide some benefit but can also be costly depending on the size of the area.

    Do you really have clay? Most people can't tell the difference between silt and clay. Google soil triangle test and do a test on your soil to find out where you are.
    All you need is some soil, a gar and granular dishwasher soap. :-)

  5. #5
    Gold Member Smallplot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting a lawn to a garden

    Spray the area with Round Up or GLY wait two weeks and then till away. RU and Gly have no residual and will not effect your gardening but it will kill all the sod and make it so much easier to till. You can even use the teeth of your box blade to initially break up the ground as you will be able to till a lot faster with a walk behind on an initial ground break.

    By all means till in that manure. Dont forget about checking the soil PH, you may very well need to add some Lime also.
    Dan,
    www.pikecountyfoodplots.com

  6. #6
    Platinum Member NHmitch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting a lawn to a garden

    How is the garden going?
    Mitch

  7. #7
    Veteran Member kiotiken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting a lawn to a garden

    Quote Originally Posted by NHmitch View Post
    How is the garden going?
    Well, I should have listened and sprayed the grass to kill it, but I scraped the grass off with as little soil as possible, but still too much. I tilled in a little manure, but it was too fresh, so I went very easy one it.

    The garden is planted and the pumpkin plants that I started in the house seem to be doing well. Nothing else has shown itself yet, so the jury's still out on if I can grow anything yet.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -p1017051-jpg  

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Converting a lawn to a garden

    Isn't that an old 'manual recoil' rototiller? circa about 195?'s

  9. #9
    Veteran Member kiotiken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting a lawn to a garden

    Quote Originally Posted by Looking4new View Post
    Isn't that an old 'manual recoil' rototiller? circa about 195?'s
    I'm not sure, but it is old. It was my grandfathers and I remember changing the oil on it when I was around 16 or so, and it wasn't new then. I'm going to guess it's a minimum 30 yrs old, but not much older than that.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member nybirdman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting a lawn to a garden

    First year is always the toughest.I would replow in the fall and add leaves to add some organic matter.My father did this for years and had wonderfull gardens.

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