Less than 28 hours left in our kickstarter!

New rewards and stretch goals. CLICK HERE!



  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Convert lawn to polyculture random garden  RSS feed

 
Andrew Mateskon
Posts: 84
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, I wish to convert my lawn (which is a crappy mix of spotted knapweed and quackgrass) to a polyculture that is both edible and attracts insects. Here is the list of seed I have for this, but I want to know the recommendations on how to achieve this conversion;

Crimson clover
campeda subclover
yellow blossom sweet clover
daikon radish
coriander
white clover
radish
carrot
venus alfalfa
calendula
white yarrow
parsley
fennel
sweet alyssum
red clover
baby's breath elegans
chervil
dill
caraway
california buckwheat

I will also add

basil
oregano
cumin
bush beans
sweet pea
watermelon
tomato
pumpkin

The ideal for me is to walk out of my door and trip over dinner

So, my question is, how do I convert a crappy lawn with these undesirable species into this polyculture? I don't need everything single seed to germinate, or every species to be present, in order for this to be useful to me. Anything is better than the knapweed quackgrass lawn I have now. No, I'm not going to mow this lawn.

Do I;

a) turn over the entire lawn, and hope the quackgrass doesn't regenerate?

b) Roundup (*gasp*) the whole mess, wait until the glyphosate is out of the soil, till (*gasp*) then plant?

c) sheet mulch a few tons of mulch (yet to be obtained) on the entire thing, plant into the mulch?

d) till (*gasp*) once, wait for weed seeds to germinate, till again, then plant?

e) Johhny appleseed all the seeds in March and see what happens?

f) solarize the whole thing with black plastic?

g) spray a vinegar solution to kill everything?
 
Chris Knipstein
Posts: 45
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You could try flame weeding to kill the yard. Personally I would flame it, wait a couple days to see if it is all wilted down and then hit anything again that isn't dying and then turn it over. Once you're ready to plant you could water the area and get all the weed seeds to germinate and then flame them before planting your garden.

Johnny's seeds sells a back pack tank and wand for $265, but if you don't mind moving a propane tank or carrying it as you go Harbor Freight sells a auto ignite wand for $50 and one you need to light with a torch flint for $25.

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/search.aspx?searchterm=flame&isusersearch=1
http://www.harborfreight.com/propane-torch-with-push-button-igniter-91037.html
http://www.harborfreight.com/propane-torch-91033.html



 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2289
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hau, Andrew. What I would do is accept that this transformation is not going to happen overnight, no matter how drastic you get, so plant tall covers (clovers) first.
The tall covers will rob sunlight from the knapweed and quack grass, this will stunt them and ready the area for spreading the radishes to break up the soil.
From there start spreading the other seeds, in two growing seasons you will have far better soil and it will be loosened from the growing of the radishes so the carrots will do well.
The food plants will be happiest if they are spread about in blocks, they can be interspersed with other plants (no mono cultures) and everything will thrive.
You mention no mowing, but there will be points in the year where a chop and drop for mulch would be a good thing, just not all over the space at once.

I would also draw up a plan, showing the areas of food crops, herbs, melons, pumpkin, etc. so you can set a nice flow and look to the space. It doesn't have to be all willy-nilly to be really good, and being able to walk around to pick what you want for dinner that night makes for better use of the areas. Remember, tall stuff in the back, tapering down in height to the lowest, that is how gardeners make things pretty to the eyes and make sure every plant gets the sunlight it needs to grow healthy and strong. It also keeps a lot of the nasty, unwanted diseases, molds and mildews from getting a foot hold to destroy your hard work.
 
Andrew Mateskon
Posts: 84
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chris,

Thank you for your response. So, to prevent the selection of fire-resistant grasses that regenerate from the roots, I would need to do this multiple times?



Bryant,

Thank you for your response. My front yard is on a south sloping hillside, with two hugel beds on-contour. I planted these last year with annual vegetables, I'm transitioning to more perennial species in the Hugel beds. I don't want to plan a section or monoculture of garden, not even rows, I want the veggies to grow with the others. If only clover comes up, fine. If everything else comes up too, great. The first section of seeds on my list is a "beneficial bug blend" from Peaceful Valley. I will not separate the clover seeds from the rest of them because that seems a little too labor intensive, and the seed mix is made to grow all together. I may put veggies in one place or another, but right now I'm inclined to mix them in with the blend, and seed it as a polyculture. willy nilly is not a problem. Chop and drop will definitely be part of it, I just don't even own a lawnmower so I will be chopping by hand, ie two or three times per year. With the south sloping hillside, and different growth habits and leaf shapes, I'm not concerned about sunlight in the slightest. If every tomato gets shaded out by California Buckwheat, so be it, but I don't think this is likely. Strong soil from chop and drop and from nitrogen fixers will help keep the molds and mildews at bay. The mice that live in my hugel beds, though, need some snakes to control them. Mice took almost all my tomatoes last year, time for some snakes and owls to take some more mice. I don't need the soil to be more loose, this is excessively well-drained sand. I need to build more organic matter in topsoil to hang on to nutrients and store water. My question is really about the methods of destroying my lawn. How do I destroy a lawn!?
 
Chris Knipstein
Posts: 45
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Andrew Mateskon wrote:Chris,
Thank you for your response. So, to prevent the selection of fire-resistant grasses that regenerate from the roots, I would need to do this multiple times?


I doubt much in the typical front yard would take more than one pass if you did it correctly. If it does come back just spot flame it as it emerges. The roots can only store so much energy for an attempt to grow back. If you happen to find something that doesn't want to die, a slow stream of boiling water usually does the trick. Pour it slow right at the top of the root so all the water soaks in right around the plant and doesn't run off. The first of the water will lose its heat to the ground quickly, but as you keep slowly pouring it the soil temperature will increase and cook the root. The typical tea kettle should be enough, 2-3 quarts would more than enough to takeout something found in the yard.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2289
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
183
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As Chris has indicated, heat will do the trick. I have killed the grasses that were growing between the footing pads of the burned down house on my land. I did this by using the spaces to create biochar for use in the garden beds. The high heat literally cooked the ground down to almost a foot depth and nothing has made a comeback. I prefer the idea of using a weed torch, since you can direct the heat exactly where you want it. Heat will kill the microsphere where it is applied but if you were to use a compost or manure tea to water those areas, the microsphere will regenerate quickly.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
40
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Maybe I am excessively patient Were it my lawn that was going to be transformed I would choose a somewhat different mix (in that I would not go for so many vegetables, nor broadcast them so much) and I would just broadcast it over the existing lawn, either timed for a nice soaking rain or followed by a good watering in. And then let things fight it out, with perhaps an additional seeding of something like buckwheat - fastgrowing and loads of biomass to chop and let rot into the soil.

I would not take an active approach to killing off the existing grass.
 
220 hours of permaculture video, freaky cheap! http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!