Mitch, I've a question for you....(m)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Mitch, I've a question for you....(m)
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 12:03pm

I've really enjoyed reading your posts to all the other novice gardeners. The information you've provided regarding making your own soil and keeping those nasty bugs away has been most helpful. However, I'm still left with a very basic question and I'm sort of embarrassed to ask. Here goes:

My experience with gardening is limited to containers. This year, however, I have a very small backyard to play with. My questions are: 1.) After testing my soil at my local nursery and the soil is found to be "good", would I need to pull up all the grass before planting my seeds/seedlings/flowers? 2.) Can I simply make the soil recipe you gave and dump it on top of the existing soil and then plant? 3.) What is the easiest way to get the grass up? 4.) Would investing in a hoe be a good idea?

Whew! I guess I just need to know the best way to get my yard ready to receive the seedlings. By the way, I will be starting my seeds in peat pots tomorrow. I'm so excited!

Look forward to hearing from you, Mitch!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:36pm
OK...getting ready for new garden areas does require removal of the "sod" to a depth of two to three inches. Invest in a flat bladed shovel, cut into the soil in strips just wide enough to cut later into squares three inches deep, then starting at one end of each strip, work the shovel under the sod, lift and remove to a wheel barrel, and it can be used to cover bare spots, around trees, or even to lift an area up a bit close to trees, shrubs, or your house.

If you do NOT remove the sod, you will be working for years to come removing weeds from your prized beds.

Now, if you want to work in shifts...some this year, some can avoid the sod removal part for next year by covering the area to be worked next year with black plastic, holding it down with stones, bricks, shucks, even some of the sod you cut out this year. Leave it on the area the entire year, allowing the sun's heat to cook the grass roots and seeds for you, along with keeping valuable moisture from getting to that area. Then simply add the mixture to that area next year. The only downfall to this is that the dead roots are still a bit of a pain to work with, tangling into tiller tines.

The dead grass and roots will help bring nutrient into that area for your garden areas in them. Do not short cut the plastic for a week or two even if the grass looks dead, there hasn't been enough high heat to kill off the roots and seeds.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:45pm
Now, after copying down all that information, let me give you my own personal prefferences! I much preffer to remove the sod with the shovel technique so that my planted beds after adding in the soil mixture won't create a high area in my lawn that allows nature's water to drain/shed off to lower areas easier. Also...I always top my planting beds with mulch to a depth of 4 inches...two now, two more in about a month. I will be giving a recipe that will turn that mulch into food for your plants in next week's hints again, and that will be all the food your plants will need after you get in the good "natural" materials, including mulch. I usually end up having to add new mulch after that just every other year....sure is a cheap way to retain moisture and feed your plants at the same time.

My mulch prefference for insect control and not to acidic is to stay away from pine nuggets and hardwood chips. I use (((cyprus))) mulch...low acidity, and not realy a favorite food or hiding place for insects either.