Starting a garden in my lawn Help please

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Garbonzobeenz1, May 12, 2006.

  1. Garbonzobeenz1

    Garbonzobeenz1 Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Hello Friends! I am new to this site and fairly new to gardening as well. I have a lovely garden in my front yard that truely love and enjoy. I started it a little over a year ago. Now the gardening bug has bit me bad and I am wanting to add another garden in my back yard.

    Here is my problem that I need help with. We have a beautiful and well established grass lawn already in place in the 25' x 10' area in which I want to add the new garden. I am a 40+ year old woman that weighs only 100lbs and so I am not a "big strong" person. What would be the easiest way to get rid of all of this grass so that I can start developing my garden?

    In the past when I have had flower beds etc that I plant in I have my husband do all of the "work" and I just "play" in them. I want to do this one myself without his help - but I do not know where to start. It is already 100 degrees here and so the sun and the heat are yet another issue to the work besides my size and strength issues.
    Any ideas?????

    Thanking you all in advance
    Marta
     
  2. Raakel

    Raakel Active Member

    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North Vancouver
    Hello Marta,

    I too am a relatively smaller person and have been faced with the same problem. I have rented a sod cutter. I believe that the one I rented was self-propelled, however still required some muscle power in order to turn the machine around. It was a rather old machine, and so perhaps you can find one that has "reverse" which would be useful. Some muscle power is also required to lift the rolls of sod. If you are creating a smaller bed, this isn't a huge task. You will have to purchase top soil to account for the lost soil.

    I have also seen a bed successfully created by placing a thick layer of newspaper on top of the turf, which inevitably kills of the turn and weeds, and placing a layer of top soil on that. The bed was raised a great deal (I believe 12-15 inches deep) which allowed for planting immediately. In time the newspaper broke down allowing for the roots to extend into the existing soil.

    Raakel
     
  3. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maryland USA zone 7
    Hi Marta,

    Obviously the grass will need to be removed. If you cover it with plastic and let it cook or poison it with herbicides, you will still need to remove the dead grass and roots. The options I can think of are:

    Only work outdoors until 11 am due to the heat.

    Rent a power sod cutter aka sod stripper, have it delivered and picked up by the rental company for an extra charge and have at it.
    http://www.ashland-city.k12.oh.us/ahs/classes/hort/2003/sep29/cutter.jpg

    Same as above but hire a strong young man to run it and remove the sod. Have lots of water on hand for him for hydration.

    Rent a manual sod cutter and either one of the above. It will take more physical strength for this option.
    http://www.raysbaginc.com/media/cutter.jpg

    Use a flat shovel aka flat spade to strip off the sod, doing only what you have the strength to do each day.
    http://www.toolfinder.co.uk/catalog/images/silverline/pics/slv_783078.jpg

    Depending on what you will be planting you may need to have compost delivered and mix it into the soil. If you are going to be planting desert plants you probably don't need to amend the soil with compost. If you do need to add compost, any good garden center can deliver either in bags or bulk. The bags weigh about 40 pounds each. You will probably need a wheelbarrow to get the bags to the back or scoop the loose compost into the wheelbarrow and do what you can each day. Again you could hire someone to do this or take your time and do it slowly yourself over time. Then you will need to till in the compost once it's spread on the soil. Same options as above with rental of a till, delivery and hired help.

    As a woman of 60 with a muscle disease and only out of a wheelchair for about 5 years now, I can tell you that somedays only one bag of anything gets moved at all. I take my time, wear braces when needed and only work til I start to hurt. Then I stop and don't work again until I don't hurt anymore. If the weather isn't cooperating with me, I wait until it does and figure it's time for me to rest. One of the reasons I love perennials. If I can't take care of them one season, they take care of themselves. :)

    Newt
     
  4. Garbonzobeenz1

    Garbonzobeenz1 Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Raakel and Newt - thank you so much for your ideas! So I guess I need to rent a sod cutter (a power one!) and just take it as it goes. I just worked at enlarging my garden in the front last week and my husbands garden yesterday and did them both with the shovel. I was not looking forward to that again with such a large area! oh my achin' back!!!
    Thanks again friends! Enjoy your weekend!!!!
    Marta
     
  5. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maryland USA zone 7
    Marta, you are so very welcome! I've got some muscle rub cream and sunblock! I do think you'd do better to rent the sod cutter and Raakel's advice is super.

    Newt
     
  6. Garbonzobeenz1

    Garbonzobeenz1 Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    I had to laugh. . . muscle cream and sunblock! I talked to Gary (husband) tonight about my plans and he says I am NOT gonna rent a sod cutter - he is gonna help me. I hate to make him do that but I am thankful for the help. I can't wait to get started!!!
    M
     
  7. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maryland USA zone 7
    I have a hubby like that!! His favorite dinner and some sweet that he likes and he'll think he's king!! Guess he didn't want you to hire one of the young muscled types! LOL

    Are you going to plant a desert garden? My mother lives in Sun Valley, just NW of Phoenix. I've visited your beautiful city a couple of times and loved it!

    Newt
     
  8. Garbonzobeenz1

    Garbonzobeenz1 Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    No desert landscapes for me. I love our desert and I love taking drives (down the street) to look at our nature/desert. But for my yard, I like an oasis - something different - something tranquill - something homey. I call our house the cottage in the desert. People stop all of the time amazed at the green we have (all of our neighbors are desert landscape).
    Here is my cottage and my current garden - it is called my "Friendship Garden"
     

    Attached Files:

  9. SusanBee1964

    SusanBee1964 Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC Canada
    I too thank those who responded to Marta....I just did some sod removal on an area that I plan to put up a shed. I've removed less than 1/4 and it's tough work, so when I came in to get a drink I thought I'd see what others had to say....so thank you. I think this time I'll bite the bullet and remove the remainder by hand/shovel but I'll definitely be checking into a sod remover in the future.

    Marta, would you mind letting me know how you made out using the sod remover.

    Also, I'd love to pop down to Phoenix to help you out - had enough of this British Columbia rain - but 100F? Hmmm, that might be a tidge on the hot side, even if it is a dry heat - lol.

    Oh...just read a little further and see you're not going to rent a sod cutter. Well, if your mind changes let me know. Good luck, everyone, with their projects!

    Susan
    British Columbia
    Canada
     
  10. Garbonzobeenz1

    Garbonzobeenz1 Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Oh My Susan!!! Good luck!
    We did the old fashion shovel and muscle power around here. It is finally finished and I am so pleased!
    I decided to just plant pumpkins in the garden for the summer. In the fall when it cools down I will start with my real design. I just didn't want to start a bunch of plants in this blistering heat! A waste of energy, money and plants.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. SusanBee1964

    SusanBee1964 Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC Canada
    DONE!!!!! After posting my initial messages I went back outside and continued with the sod removal. I changed my tactics a little and finally finished. It took me about 3 hours to remove the sod and then transport the sod to the compost - I used a huge tarp for this, threw the sod onto it and dragged it across the yard.

    Now I have to level the area but that's probably not going to get done today - my arms are a tidge sore!

    Susan
     
  12. Garbonzobeenz1

    Garbonzobeenz1 Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    YIPPEE!!!! You must be thrilled to be done! Congrats!!!
    M
     
  13. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver
    "I just didn't want to start a bunch of plants in this blistering heat! A waste of energy, money and plants."

    Words to live by Garbanzo. I guess 100 degrees makes it easier to take the principle to heart. When you live in the rainforest you keep thinking you can get away with pushing it, and ... you lose plants!
     
  14. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maryland USA zone 7
    Hi Marta and Susan,

    I've been away and am just getting back to my computer. I just loved the pics and the gardens! Thank you so much for sharing. Your hard work shows, both of you!! Glad I could be of a little help, even if I didn't lift a shovel!

    Newt
     
  15. SusanBee1964

    SusanBee1964 Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC Canada
    Thanks, Newt...always good to get a pat on the ol' back. Now I'm struggling with making the area that I removed the sod from level. I'm putting one of those "buy all the pieces and build it" sheds up and I've tossed around alot of ideas about what to do with the base but I've learned if I level the ground and pack it down good and tight I'll be okay. The other night I had to move six wheelbarrow loads of dirt from my veggie garden to the shed plot because I had to build it up enough to cover up a couple big roots...then I pushed the dirt around and just couldn't get anywhere....almost had to have a little cry (such a girl!). Anyway, I'm going to rent one of those roller things or maybe a gas compacter tomorrow - if I don't get this shed up soon I'll go crazy (need storage desperately).

    Happy gardening!

    Susan
     
  16. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maryland USA zone 7
    Susan, did you just type what I think you typed?

    Uh oh! Those roots aren't a living tree, right?

    Newt
     
  17. SusanBee1964

    SusanBee1964 Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC Canada
    Oh no, just remnants from an old cherry tree....but I know what you're getting at!

    Susan
     
  18. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maryland USA zone 7
    Cool!! Glad to hear that it's just the remains of a tree. Now lift with your knees. ;)

    Newt
     

Share This Page