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how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

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how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby Xiolo » Oct 07, 2008 1:39 pm

Hey Folks,

I just moved into my new house and am looking to make a vegetable garden in my back yard. It's a fair size lot but all grass with shubbery around the fenceline. I'm thinking of putting in two 12' by 4' rows to create my vegetable garden.

I'm unsure of the best way to make the garden though.

Do I remove the grass and till the dirt underneath, or do I just till the grass and dirt and everything?

I'm thinking of building a frame around the beds and adding some top soil as well as the soil here has alot of clay in it. (winnipeg, mb)

For creating the boxes, I'm thinking of adding 4-6 inches of dirt on top of the ground to allow for adequate depth. Is there a suggested type of wood? Treated or non? Cedar or no? Cheaper is preferable. :)

Any ideas/suggestions/etc would be great!

Thanks.
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Re: how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby JanR » Oct 07, 2008 10:18 pm

I am in the process of adding some raised beds to my garden as well. I am using 2 x 10 spruce boards. Cedar would definitely be preferable, but it is just too expensive, I will just have to replace the boards sooner. It is not a good idea to get preserved wood as there is evidence to suggest that the preservative leaches into the soil. This would not be a good thing with a vegetable garden.

It would be preferable to remove the grass with maybe a sod lifter. In Winnipeg it should be fairly easy to rent one. It wasn't an option here so I reluctantly decided to till the grass in, which I am just in the process of doing now. I will remove any clumps of grass.

Good luck with your garden.
Jan
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Re: how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby beeman » Oct 08, 2008 9:27 am

I would suggest, if available, Hemlock for the side boards. It is equal or better in the rot department than Western Red Cedar or even White Cedar, certainly cheaper.
I would suggest municipal compost instead of top soil, mixed with your soil will provide better amendment and add beneficial microbes etc.
Finally a soil test. Start off right!!
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Re: how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby Mervyn » Oct 08, 2008 12:10 pm

Another option is to simply turn the grass over into the soil (8-12 inches or so) add the new soil on top, and let the grass die and rot into the soil, then in the spring, till it,

That should kill off the grass and add some organic material to the soil as well.

I really can't add anything as to the type of wood to use , but when cost is a factor, you have to determine if it's long term cost or short term costs that are a real concern.
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Re: how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby Xiolo » Oct 09, 2008 1:09 pm

Thanks for the advice!

I think I have a general idea of what I'm going to do now. I'm looking at creating 3 4'x12' beds with 2x10's (i'll look into getting hemlock). I'll cover the grass on the bottom of the beds with cardboard/newspaper and then add my topsoil/compost/mix (still not sure about this yet, but will continue to research) on top of it. Apparently this will smother my grass and help break it all down. i might also break it up underneath before i put the cardboard layer down to help loosen things up for the deeper rooting vegetables.
I think I'm going to take some ideas from the square foot gardening method and split my beds into square-foot sections. It's an intriguing idea and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

I'll also look into municipal compost and will get a compost bin/pile going this weekend to start on that. I'm not sure how it works in the winter, so I'll have to do some more looking on that front.

So thanks so much for your advice. I'm sure you'll see me around with lots more questions. :)
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Re: how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby B_BQ » Oct 09, 2008 4:12 pm

Hi:
You will just love having raised beds. They're so much more comfortable to work with, and much easier on the back! I have two and would love more!

When I made my raised beds I didn't bother taking off the sod. After the surround was put in I simply put a thick layer of corrugated board over the sod, then added a thick layer of newspapers, then leaves. (Now would be a great time to start this project because there will be lots of leaves available). Then I just filled up the remainder of the space with topsoil. I did mine in the Fall too. I also got a few bags of well composted sheep manure and dug that in. (Make sure it is well composted so that there are not any seeds to germinate).

Another thing I did, and still do, is when my little kitchen compost bucket is full I go and dig a hole in the raised bed, empty out the kitchen waste, and fill up the hole. I keep on doing this until the ground freezes. By the following spring it is all composted.

~BBQ
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South/Central Ontario

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day
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Re: how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby JanR » Oct 10, 2008 10:12 am

I love the square foot gardening philosophy myself. I built to 4 x 4 garden beds this spring and they did really well. The tomato plant was 3 times the size of the ones in the regular garden. With our cold wet spring/ summer it seemed to do much better.

Jan, Lakeland MB Zone 3
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Re: how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby Pansy » Oct 14, 2008 11:38 pm

Xiolo if you look in Lee Vally's Cat,you'll see corner brackets for raised beds.This is how my beds

are connected & it makes the job much simpler.Good Luck.
Pansy
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Re: how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby beeman » Oct 15, 2008 9:26 am

I looked at those items from Lee Valley, plus the wood, my raised strawberry bed would have cost in the region of $300!
Decided that the strawberries should be gold plated for that price!
My latest, Mini Landscape ties, courtesy of Durgan. I did a 44x22 vegetable plot, a 6x18 strawberry bed, and a 8x12 blueberry bed for around $180, and a great deal stronger than 1 by lumber.
With a few drilled holes and rebar my grand daughter uses it for balance beam work.
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Re: how to turn my lawn into a vegetable garden

Postby Durgan » Oct 15, 2008 8:40 pm

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?TNKZN 26 September 2008 Completing New Garden Bed

A new garden bed (24 feet by 8 feet) was made on the 24 and 25 of September 2008. The procedure was; Remove the sod, hand spade the soil, rototill the large spaded chunks, wood chips added for fiber and rototilled in, sod put through a chipper shredder to kill the grass roots and blown back onto the bed and worked in, a layer of vegetative compost added and mixed with the underlying soil. Total time about 12 hours of labour. Mini ties have been installed to have support walls for the raised bed. Total time one hour.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?IWBAU Summary: Making a new garden bed.
Zone 5 Brantford,ON
http://durgan.org/2011/
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