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Getting rid of grass.  RSS feed

 
Dougan Nash
Posts: 67
Location: Eastern Shore, Maryland
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So, I have prepared all winter / fall to get my garden roaring this spring. I have a few sheet-muched beds (that should be great come spring), but there are many other parts of the yard I want to turn into garden. Unfortunately grass is an issue. I know if I direct seed right into the grass I am unlikely to harvest anything. I really want to go out and turn over the first few inches with a shovel, but I fear that's a little too close to tilling.

I'm stuck in an ethical dilemma. On one hand, I really want new soil to seed into without the worry of grass taking over (I don't mind a few blades, just not the carpet that is currently there). On the other hand, I really don't want to disturb the soil and kill the life in the first few inches.

What to do? Would raking work? I know it would be more physical effort, but might clear away the worst of it. Obviously I will be covering the bare ground with a thin layer of straw once I plant.
 
Kevin EarthSoul
Posts: 135
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I'm no expert, but from what I have read and seen, here are two ideas:

1. Cut the sod layer and just turn it over. Yes, that opens it up a little to oxygen (tilling), but you can do it in largish sheets, which minimizes it.
2. Cardboard & newspaper sheet mulch. Cover your grass in soggy cellulose layers. You can punch through and plant shrubs in places, but just covering the grass and blocking sunlight will help.

After you've done the above, you can add other sheet-mulching layers atop the cardboard and newsprint, and sow your mowable meadow mix, if you'd like. Doing a season of nitrogen fixers and nutrient accumulators to mulch-in-place, before you go ahead with your target crops isn't a bad idea. Heal the soil first by adding diversity and pioneer plant species that will heal the soil. To paraphrase geoff lawton: focus on fixing the soil biology first, and the soil chemistry will take care of itself.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Hey I've mentioned this a couple times lately. It's working pretty well for me.

Lay down an inch or so of mulch; wood chips, straw, whatever anything that has 'channels' and isn't a full mat (I haven't tried this with cardboard for instance and I am inclined not to try this technique with it.) and then use some high clay high organic matter seed balls on top. I generally use handball sized ones. They melt and form a mat that does a pretty good job excluding things which where not in the seed mix. The grass will come back some so you repeat this process a couple times a season for a few seasons

There are also plenty of things that get along really well with grass as can totally be seeded or transplanted directly into it. Strawberries do pretty well. Nettles are awesome. Clover and vetch are great for a lot of reasons. I just scatter that stuff on top of my existing lawn. Some of it takes. Some of it doesn't

It also depends a lot on you. Are you the kind of person who likes to throw a day or a weekend into a big effort and then stand back and gloat for the rest of the season or do you prefer to spend 15 minutes a day every day doing a little here and a little there and evolving the system. both are good. Both work. I do both.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Rakes:

These things are cool. They kinda work. I'd more use a rake if I was looking to layer stuff into the already existing grass. Like... *scuff scuff scuff* *seed mustard and clovers* *scuff scuff* *wait * *See what takes* *enjoy polyculture lawn*

But in my experience you are not going to get rid of an established lawn with a rake. Not without way to much expenditure of back, shoulders and blasphemy
 
jimmy gallop
Posts: 196
Location: east and dfw texas
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sorry if this don't fit your situation don't know without being there I have muscovies they are real quite I have them in moveable pens that are 4 ft /10 ft the pens could be any size you want your garden.put them were you want to garden and take care of them . after the grass is gone add straw or your bag from your baggier mower to compensate for all the nitrogen that is going down deep in the ground after the grass is visible gone the straw /leaves/grass clippings will absorb any smell they might have.
give them a lot of water to work with they will relive the soil of grass at that spot and not turn soil over to much add any compost or such that you want they will spread it and poop on it when you get the layer about 4 inches thick or how thick you want it move them to the next spot.you do need to keep them on the spot at least 1 month.You can also put red worms in that spot after the ducks are moved and they will go to work neutralizing the soil . you will need some kind of barrier to keep the grass out or it will just come back.
My favorite thing to plant first is corn which will take a lot of nitrogen but returns a lot to he soil if you put the stalks on the soil as ground cover when they are done.
some times people just have to garden .
 
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