4. Smother the Sod With Lasagna
No, I’m not talking about the pasta casserole! In this method, the lasagna consists of layers of organic matter that smother the sod and enrichen the soil. This method doesn’t require heavy labor, leaves the existing organic matter in place, adds additional organic matter, and doesn’t disrupt the soil structure. But it also delays planting by up to several months.
To get started, lay material such as cardboard, newspaper, or old feed bags over the sod (but be careful to avoid materials that contain synthetic dyes or fungicides). Next, cover your biodegradable material with compost to hold it in place. This will eventually smother the sod and kill the grass.
Over the course of the next few months, continue to add layers of organic materials as they become available to you. Any biodegradable material will work – you can use additional newspaper or cardboard, grass clippings, leaf mold, hay, or straw. Be sure to wet materials to help hold the layers in place.
Since it can take several months for the grass to die and the organic materials to break down, this method is best started in the late summer or early fall. By the following spring, the grass should be dead and the organic matter you’ve added will have been incorporated into the soil by earthworms and other organisms.
Pros: Does not require the physical labor of removing or turning under sod; very affordable; leaves original organic matter in place; does not disrupt soil structure or propagate weeds.
Cons: Delays planting up to several months.
Since I want to start planting my vegetable garden soon and I have an injured back that prevents me from doing a lot of digging or weeding, I’m planning on removing the sod with a sod-cutter and then tilling. Right now I’m waiting for the soil to dry out, but unfortunately there is more rain in the forecast!
I’ll be keeping you posted on my progress as part of our Grow Your Own Food Challenge. And because I have no experience turning lawn into garden, please, PLEASE share any tips or comments below!
(Image courtesy of daveeza via a Creative Commons license.)