Starting a Garden - Step 1

comments (4) November 17th, 2009

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yourownvictorygarden Greg Holdsworth, contributor
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I am currently converting a section of my back yard to a new garden area. I thought to myself, "Self...this is a great time to go through the steps I have taken to realize a new garden - from planning to preparation to execution."

For many of you, this will be a refresher, and there are certainly plenty of sources in print and online on the subject.

That said, I will compose this series of steps as more of an undated diary that happens to educate as well. Onward my dirty-nailed friends...

When planning where I wanted to put my soon-to-be garden, I immediately thought of two things - sunlight and water. The location had to be reasonably close to a water supply, but more importantly had to have a "full day's supply" of sunlight. We're talking most of a day here.

So there it went, right in the middle of the yard. I hope to convert most of my lawn to gardens in the back yard. My future inspiration of course - Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid.

  Learn more:

Video Series: How to Start a Vegetable Garden
Rather than using chemicals to kill the turf, I went with a slower, greener, and more effective solution - chocking the light by covering the area with a vinyl tarp. The tarp is held in place with rocks and old iron barbell plates.

For those who want to have a garden but aren't in a hurry, I feel this is the way to go. Now is the perfect time to do this! Especially if you live up north and your growing season is already over for the year.

I'll give the grass a few weeks (or more) to die off. Then it's off to Step 2, preparing the soil area that will surround the raised bed(s). Stay tuned.

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Comments (4)

archdiver writes: The tarp trick is a good one which I have used before for other gardens on our property. This Fall however, we expanded our vegetable garden by 800 sf, bought a rear tine rototiller and used that for breaking the sod and tilling soil to an 8" depth. I then tilled in 3 yards of aged cow manure, covered the area with a thick bed of compost from our bins and leaves I had shredded.

By Spring, we'll get an early start with the soil already tilled, while the amendments of grass, manure and leaves will have organically enriched and improved the texture of our clay soil.
Posted: 5:21 pm on November 19th
Ruth writes: When I started a small garden annex on the side lawn, I loosely fenced in the area and covered the ground with leaves in the fall. By spring the grass was dead.
Posted: 4:33 pm on November 19th
tomatoboy writes: Agree, tarp is a better idea than Roundup, though it might not be cheaper. Cheaper than both is newspaper and you can compost it.
Posted: 4:26 pm on November 19th
JadaE writes: Great post! This is exactly what I've planned for next Spring! The ONLY thing I've ever done in my backyard is mow it (the kids don't play back there anyway), so why not turn the whole thing into a veggie garden? :)

The tarp sure beats Roundup! Cheaper too! :) -Jada

Posted: 10:53 am on November 19th
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