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Old 02-04-2008, 07:40 PM
 
Location: South of Houston
419 posts, read 1,706,700 times
Reputation: 443

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The wife and I are wanting to start a vegetable garden this year and we're looking for advice on the best method of removing the grass. We've got an excellant location for the garden, which is in an open area with plently of sun. Since we live on 3 acres here in the SE Texas we are not limited to a specific area. The area we have chosen has mostly Bermuda grass as well as an asortment of undefinded weeds. The area has always been mowed so the weeds are not out of control. The size of the garden we would like to begin with is 20 x 20 and then expand later. The soil conditions here is all sandy loam.

I have had raised beds in the past and the veggies did very well in those beds. Presently we are not looking at that method. I know it's a bit late in the season here to expect a spring crop and maybe not a summer crop. I realize it would have been best to start soil prep last fall, but what can I say .. that didn't happen.

I can remove the Bermuda with a sod stripper and then relocate that sod to another area of the yard. But will this stripper get rid of the roots..? We would perfer not using chemicals to kill the grass because of several reasons.

So I ask, what method would be best. Renting a sod remover or smothering the area with black plastic or cardboard, etc.

Thanks for the feedback .....
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Sound Beach
2,160 posts, read 6,536,426 times
Reputation: 876
I have become a fan of using the black fiber or plastic sheeting. However this was in Utah where the climate is a little cooler. You may find that in the hot texas sun that the ground will get so hot your little plants will cook!! The only ither issue was that for grass...the roots seemed to travel very well without any sunlight...and poked through the plastic in spots. These were easy to remove by yanking them out...but it is an extra step.

I wonder if you just tilled it to death to a depth of about 12 inches...that should take care of all the roots no??
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:25 AM
NCN
 
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
21,136 posts, read 21,121,261 times
Reputation: 23163
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoydS View Post
The wife and I are wanting to start a vegetable garden this year and we're looking for advice on the best method of removing the grass. We've got an excellant location for the garden, which is in an open area with plently of sun. Since we live on 3 acres here in the SE Texas we are not limited to a specific area. The area we have chosen has mostly Bermuda grass as well as an asortment of undefinded weeds. The area has always been mowed so the weeds are not out of control. The size of the garden we would like to begin with is 20 x 20 and then expand later. The soil conditions here is all sandy loam.

I have had raised beds in the past and the veggies did very well in those beds. Presently we are not looking at that method. I know it's a bit late in the season here to expect a spring crop and maybe not a summer crop. I realize it would have been best to start soil prep last fall, but what can I say .. that didn't happen.

I can remove the Bermuda with a sod stripper and then relocate that sod to another area of the yard. But will this stripper get rid of the roots..? We would perfer not using chemicals to kill the grass because of several reasons.

So I ask, what method would be best. Renting a sod remover or smothering the area with black plastic or cardboard, etc.

Thanks for the feedback .....
You need to dig that grass up and get rid of the roots or it will come back when you don't want it to.
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,164 posts, read 57,274,608 times
Reputation: 52030
I'd rent a sod remover and use the grass elsewhere in your lawn if you need to. Killing the grass via plastic or other mulch takes a long time, and it will be harder to till the ground and mix in topsoil, soil builder, etc., with the grass and roots still in there, even if they are dead.
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:38 PM
 
3,367 posts, read 9,863,452 times
Reputation: 4148
Depending on your type of grass....I'm no expert on every sort but I've used this method successfully:

If you have a week or two to spare, use a nice sharp square-bladed spade and cut the grass into turves, slicing it into say, 2' squares, then turn them over flat, and leave grass-side down with the roots exposed to dry out. The roots will die off within a week, and if you want to be sure then spray the exposed roots carefully with a weed-killer - the type that becomes inactive to soil once dry.

You can then break the turves up and dig them into the new veggie patch.

Can I add - never, never, never use sheet material under soil, it will be there forever, and one day some poor soul will want to dig that soil - and hit a membrane which is a nightmare to remove.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Gary, WV & Springfield, ME
5,826 posts, read 8,458,040 times
Reputation: 17250
Are you absolutely set on gardening in the ground?

My solution (with a weak back) would be to ignore the grass problem and build raised beds. Put plastic sheeting down over the grass in strips perhaps 6'x20', put railroad or landscape timbers along the edge, add until you have the right height, then sprinkle of straw on the bottom, a topsoil (taken from another part of your property, if you want)over that and then add perhaps a loam/potting soil on top. The 6' width allows you to reach all parts of the garden from one side or the other. Leave a space of about 8' and then start another one. Why 8'? That way, you can easily mow the area between raised beds and/or easily drive your car/truck/lawn tractor between the rows if you need to take something to the gardening area. My back issue forbids me to use the wheelbarrow extensively.

Because you are leaving plenty of space between the beds, you may want to consider making a larger area into the garden area, add benches for admiring your handiwork.

Grass will continue to be a problem - new grass, planted by birds flying overhead. So just because you started with soil uncontaminated with grass doesn't mean you'll never see it again in your vegetable garden. But at least you'll have a head start with a raised bed.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:02 AM
 
3,367 posts, read 9,863,452 times
Reputation: 4148
Quote:
Originally Posted by AliceT View Post
Are you absolutely set on gardening in the ground?

My solution (with a weak back) would be to ignore the grass problem and build raised beds. Put plastic sheeting down over the grass in strips perhaps 6'x20',
Sorry to pick this answer apart, it is great advice....but please don't use plastic sheeting - it will be there for 500 years.

And one day someone will want to dig there and will hit acres of plastic. No fun with a spade and a foot of soil on top of it.

Get a load of newspaper or cardboard instead of the plastic, lay it down in thick sheets, wet it thoroughly, and follow the rest of this great advice.

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Old 02-18-2008, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Buried in the sticks north of Shelton Wa...
14 posts, read 62,381 times
Reputation: 19
I was given 3 garden boxes last year. These people even gave me the twine and some seeds. LOL On their site they have the plans for making your own boxes and suggest cardboard or landscape cloth as what you can put down between the ground and your new soil. I know that you can't call on them as they aren't in your area, but I can post the link showing the plans for how they make the boxes...

GRuB > Kitchen Garden Project > Build Your Own Garden > Intro (http://www.goodgrub.org/kgp/build1.html - broken link)

This might help if you decide to go with raised beds.
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
1,501 posts, read 10,537,303 times
Reputation: 1091
Have you considered lasagna gardening? No need to remove the grass.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:24 AM
 
3,367 posts, read 9,863,452 times
Reputation: 4148
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubytue View Post
Have you considered lasagna gardening? No need to remove the grass.
Fantastic! That's kind of what I do, depending on what organic material I can get hold of. I never knew it had a proper name...I just called it 'layer gardening' or 'no-dig gardening'.

Google those names too for tons of useful tips.....
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