How to convert grass to garden

I have a nice patch of grass in my back yard I want to convert to garden. What are some good ways to get rid of the grass - kill it, turn it under, etc. ?
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote:

Adopt a border collie...... ;-)
I'd like to find a variety of grass that is dog proof!
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I have dug it up with a shovel and picked up the top 3 inches and piled it up elsewhere till the grass died. Very time consuming a lot of physical work.
You could kill it first, but that would put a lot of chemicals in the ground. If you don't get rid of it completely it will come back to haunt you.
Dwayne
"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in

Digging is rough. You could use boiling water. Cook some potatoes for mashed. Take the hot water and put it in a watering can and water sections of the grass. Steam some green beans or carrots for dinner, use that hot water too. Over a few weeks you can probably kill large sections of the grass for a nice small garden. A large garden you could rent a rototiller.
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

get rid, or if there's a huge amount, you could hire a turf stripper which does the same but a lot quicker and neater. Then you could use the turf for elsewhere, or you could make a loam stack. Stack your turf green side to green side and brown side to brown side, cover the pile and this time next year you'll have some nice compost.
Steve
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By far the easiest way is cover it with cardboard or newspapers (several layers of newspapers, or one of cardboard), cover the paper with mulch, and plant through the mulch the first year.
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in

While I haven't tried this, you could mow it really short first then try other removal methods. We used a pick ax, straight bottom shovel, and tiller to get our garden going last year. I found the best thing to do with the grass is to pile it up on one end of the garden and let it sit for about a month and till it. Repeat. (Don't try to grow anything there yet!) When it converts to soil, you should be good.
Puckdropper
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Depends on what kind of grass. If it is bermuda about the only way to kill it is with Roundup. No residuals to worry about.
You can use clear plastic to solarized the area.
Cut as short as you can, newspaper/cardboard topped with mulch.
Desod it with a flathead shovel and use the sod to start your compost pile upside down.
John!
Ook wrote:

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I'd vote for that last: just take the sod off. If you turn it over you end up fighting all the grass that's trying to turn around and come up again. If you turn over or kill it, you have to hack at pads of sod as you prepare the bed, unless you have a really good gas tiller to chop them up. I prefer the old fashoned way: shave off a square foot of sod with a shovel, shake it like a bathmat, then throw it in the wheelbarrow to compost it or use it as fill for a low spot somewhere else in the yard. When you're done you have a soft, weed-free bed ready to be worked.
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Hello "Ook" & all;
"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

It's been fun reading all of the replies you got on how to go about doing getting rid of the grass. But one wasn't mentioned. It's become my preferred method of "clearing the land" so to speak.
It's easy (no hard labor), cheap (no expensive chemicals or water to boil), and works quite quickly. Found that out when I'd spread one out on the lawn for the few moments it took to fold and put away...
What is it?
A piece of black plastic, such as one might use as a liner under bark chips or other landscape cover. Just that plain, flexible, BLACK, plastic sheet stuff.
Get a chunk large enough to cover the area you want cleared, weigh the edges down with some rocks of something...and let the sun do its magic.
I've inadvertently killed lawn sections in as little as 10 or 15 minutes of (accidental) exposure like that--but I was living in Sacramento at the time. They do get "a little" sun there. Since I don't know where you're going to do this, you may find it takes longer in Wisconsin...esp. with snow on the ground...(:-o)!
I leave it there for a few days, and all of the grass, weeds, everything is quite dead. Then I till it under as mulch. Works like a champ. The "kill depth" is relatively shallow, so it doesn't really mess up your garden's ecology AFAICT...
Hope this helps...
Dusty San Jose, Ca.

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The shallow kill depth is also the problem when it comes to rhizome grasses like Bermuda, Bahia or even Zoysia. I've had all of these recover, in short time from black plastic or rototilling. Bahia can even survive Roundup if you don't hit everything evenly or thoroughly with heavier than usual dose. If you have bluegrass or fescue, take the easy way out. If you have tose mentionned above, pull out the big guns. Gary

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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

Thanks to all that replied, I've been out of town and have not had a chance to respond sooner.
No bermuda (!!). I lived in Vegas for 15 years, and there is no way to win the war against bermuda. Up here (near Portland OR), there is no bermuda type grasses.
It's a fairly large plot, probably 2000 square feet or so, depending on how much my wife wants for her koi pond area :). I'm not excited about shaving the top layer off.
Black plastic - problem - there is no sunshine this time of year, it doesn't stop raining long enough for the ground to dry.
I have tons of cardboard boxes, having just moved - maybe using cardboard to kill it is my best bet? And then use a good gas tiller to chop up the remains?
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I'd use them, cover thickly with some type of mulch. Rake it all off come spring and then till. Use the leftover mulch to mulch the garden.
Since you are going to dig a pond, use the dirt on the garden spot too.
Good Luck!
John!
Ook wrote:

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At an old house I would regularly make a new raised bed when I wanted an additional garden. Procedure was simple:
(1) go to Home Depot (or similar) and buy 5-10 bags of composted manure and treated 3x5 boards to make the edge of the bed.
(2) build the frame of the raised bed and then set down newspaper over the inside bottom of the frame (covering the grass)
(3) cover the newspaper with the composted manure.
the grass will yellow and die within 2-3 weeks and by the following spring (when you spade things over) the newspaper will have completely disintegrated. The extra advantage of the paper is that it prevents the grass from gowing up theough the 6" of manure.
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nt moore wrote:

It depends a lot on the grass. If it's bermudagrass, I recommend spraying it with Roundup first, at the higher dosage listed on the label. You will still end up pulling bermuda out of your garden for the next 3 or 4 years (at least.) The only sure way of getting rid of bermuda is to move.
If you have a cool-season northern grass, just covering it up will work.
Best regards, Bob
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