Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
My backyard has far too much grass. I'd like to turn a fairly large portion of the lawn into waterwise beds and also expand my backyard vegetable garden. Two years ago, I made some beds by removing the turf. However, it is not only very hard work but it also results in a large amount of excess sod, and takes a good amount of topsoil with it. It also seems wasteful to send it to a landfill. Is there a way to kill the grass without herbicides? For example, will covering it with black plastic be an effective way to kill the grass? If so, how long will it be before I can plant in the new beds?
Rate This FAQ
Solarization is an option, but clear plastic works better, temperature under clear plastic actually gets hotter and works better to kill grass - this works best in early summer when grass is actively growing and temperatures are warm enough. It's important the lawn is well watered prior to covering with plastic. It will take 8-10 weeks to kill grass this way. Then the dead grass will take time to decompose - so as it decomposes, any nitrogen in the soil will be first used by microbes decomposing the dead grass.
Here is a link to article from Oregon State on Solarizing, click on http://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/story.php?S_No=172&storyType=garde
Another option is to build up layers of cardboard and compost- a minimum of six to eight inches over the existing grass. This is best done in fall, and by next spring, with snowload, you can plant directly into these top layers of compost. The following is an excerpt from University of Illinois article on layers or lasagna gardening.
In a nutshell, you layer organic materials, starting with a 1-inch thick stratum of WET newspaper or cardboard laid directly onto established grass, overlapped slightly. Or in my case, a weedy flower bed. This smothers grass and weed growth and encourages our friends the earthworms to move in. On top of this layer, add 1-2 inches of peat moss. Then choose from the smorgasbord below, alternating strata of carbon and nitrogen products with peat moss between each layer, adding a sprinkle of wood ashes or bonemeal.
Fallen leaves (except for oak), peat moss, straw, newspapers, cardboard or shredded paper, chopped stalks or chopped corn cobs, old straw
manure ,blood meal, grass clippings (2 inches or less), kitchen waste such as leftover vegetables, fruits, eggshells, coffee grounds. NOTE: Avoid meats, oils or dairy products.
Your goal is to create 24 inches of material. This will eventually settle down to 6
inches of easily workable soil. If you like, you can outline the bed with landscape timbers, but that's not a necessity. Fall is the ideal time to begin this, so it can steep over the winter, but you can create your lasagna any time during the year. To speed up the cooking process, cover with a sheet of black plastic weighted down with bricks or logs. In about 6 weeks most of the layers will have broken down into a dark, crumbly material that's a joy to plant in.
The great thing about lasagna gardening is that you don't have to wait to plant – you can build the garden and plant it all in the same day (assuming the weather is warm enough). To make a planting hole in a new bed, simply pull the layers apart with your hands. Set the plant in the hole, pull the mulch back around the roots, and water it thoroughly.
To sow seeds in a newly-built lasagna garden, spread fine compost or damp peat moss where the seeds are to go, then set the seeds on the surface. Sift more fine material to cover the seeds and press down.
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- Last fall we removed all of our oregon grape that has been growing for over 20 years to re-landscape a flower bed in our front yard. We put mulch on the bare ground to sit over the winter in hopes to start planting this spring. Now we have several mushroom 'colonies', is what I call it, breaking through the soil, but they are only coming through on half of the 5' x 12' area. I have pulled out the 'first round' of mushrooms, and now twice as mony are coming back, in the same area. How can I get rid of these mushrooms so that we can plant our new daylillies and spirea? I might also add that this area has not received alot of water, although it is next to our driveway where we shovel the snow.
- I mowed my lawn today (04/18/08) and noticed some dead "tracks" that I do not remember seeing when I mowed on Saturday (04/14/08). I thought that it might have been something from my lawn mower but it is a brand new Honda that I purchased 1 month ago. I have posted some pictures on my website and can be viewed at supersoygifts.com/grass.htm. Thanks for any info you can provide.
- I have a small backyard that has a house on the west and north side, a cinder block wall on the east side and a large tree shading a portion on the south side. Due to the high sides of our yard, we tried some part shade/part sun plants last year. But they got blasted in the heat. Our yard doesn't get 10 hours of sunlight but it gets very hot. Can I sucessfully grow a vegetable garden in part of it up against the houses and plant something along the cinder block wall - preferably grapes or raspberries, or other covering plants (can be non-fruit). Can you recommend a plant we can grow along the wall, both in the shaded and sunny parts? Any recomendations for better use of the space?
- We are putting in sod in our front yard - not a lot of traffic. Would like you opinion on if we should put in Kentucky Blue Grass or a biograss?
- When is the best time to spray a cherry tree for worms?
- I am preparing to sod my front yard in the next couple of weeks. I am looking for a grass that is hardy, drought and weed resistant. I also have a dog that can be somewhat hard on grass. I looked into Zoysia grass, but determined it wasn't a really great grass for this climate. What would you suggest, and where might I find it in Northern Utah?
- I have a sister that lives in South Jordan. She and her neighbor planted their gardens at the same time with the same type of soil. Her neighbors vegetables are thriving and my sisters are on the verge of death. What should she do and where can she have her soil tested?
- I planted my tomatos around the middle of May and now they are big and great looking except not one of the 12 plants has a blossom on it. Am I not patient enough or what can I do about this?