Grass to garden -- what's the best approach?

Page 1 of 5  
I have a large area between our front walkway and the stockade fence that I'm tired of mowing. Since it is almost entirely in shade, I think I'd like to turn it into a mint garden this year. I don't care about spreading because if the mint goes under the fence and into the yard it just makes the dogs smell nice. I also have no objection to just mowing it like lawn if it crops up where I don't want it. :)
What's the best way to make sure that I get garden there and not mint sprinkled with regrown grass? I was going to rent a tiller and turn up the sod but then what? Do I remove the sod chunks or do I just chop it, turn it under and hope it becomes green manure and not more grass? Is it better to remove all the sod and then replace the missing dirt with top soil? If some grass sprouts up down the line, will the mature mint plants smother it out?
All opinions and experiences welcome.
Thx.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 26 Feb 2007 16:47:38 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

When I do this I water well and two days later get out with my sharp edging spade and remove the sod by hand, sitting there shaking the soil off as I go. You can also rent a sod cutter or pay someone to do it. I like getting down in the dirt and breaking up clumps, etc. Never do this if the soil is too wet as you will ruin the texture for good. Do not mow it under unless it is rye.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I did do that for the garden alongside the house last year but this Indiana clay sort of wears on your nerves after awhile. Maybe by the time spring rolls around I will have sufficiently recovered from LAST year to do it by hand.

Can you explain what you mean by "ruin the texture"? Wouldn't the texture come back as the soil dries out?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

FW What will be damaged is the soil structure, or the way the particles are put together. Tilling wet soil, especially clay will eliminate all the air spaces (pores) and the soil will become compacted hard as a rock when it dries out. (That's what happened to our great loam soil here. Someone tilled it wet and it was like cement. HAD to be wet down the night before or the shovel would not penetrate it dry) Walking on it wet will do the same thing. It's not permanent, but takes a lot of time and work to get it back to good stuff.
Take some soil in your hand and squeeze it. If it sticks together in a gooey mass, don't till/dig it yet. When you can poke a ball of soil with your finger, and it falls apart easily, then is the time to work the soil. You might want to dig in some compost/organic matter in when you do, it will improve the structure of clay soil tremendously. Good soil structure will clump together somewhat like cake crumbs, with air spaces between the crumbs. If you don't have ST Augustine or Bermuda, but just grass, tilling it under would provide some organic material itself.
Emilie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 26 Feb 2007 17:25:34 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

Not necessarily. For example in clay soils with little organic matter, if you work wet soil it will ball up and it would be very difficult to break up all the clumps. In friable soil, it's easier to break clumps, but it's work.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Victoria I think you meant to say 'soil structure' will be damaged? Texture refers to the size and type of the mineral particles in the soil: clay (small), silt (medium) and sand (large) and their percentages. What the soil is made of couldn't be changed by wet tilling; however, the structure could be harmed. Emilie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Texture refers to clay, sand, silt, etc. Structure refers to nutrients. You have it the other way around.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

This is exactly what I have done for 3 gardens that I put in and it worked very well, one along the driveway and the other 2 as islands in the yard. I replaced the missing material with a mix of manure and topsoil. These 2 gardens (not vegetable, but lots of perennial/annual stuff including mint) are vibrantly full of vigor. Tomes
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
>

It might depend on what type of grass you have.
We have St. Augustine, and when we removed our entire front lawn we dug it all up. A sodcutter would be great, but we did it the old fashioned way with a flat shovel and a wheelbarrow. We put down two layers of "guaranteed" weedcloth, and several inches of mulch on top of that, and I still have to weed it by hand. With mint I would think it would take over the area fairly rapidly, though.
Here's what we ended up with
http://www.cearbhaill.com/DSC00219.JPG
Good luck.
--
Toni
South Florida USA
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ohhhh! LOVELY! Nice job.
I didn't mention using weed cloth because everyone seems to think it fails pretty easily. I guess they were right. :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

I get this at above url.
You are not authorized to view this page You do not have permission to view this directory or page using the credentials that you supplied.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Bad timing- my websites are in the process of being moved to a new server today. Sorry for the time wasted!
--
Toni
South Florida USA
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
g'day fragile warrior,
maybe you could sheet mulch/raised garden/lasagne the area to get control over any grass that is there then plant the mint and in time either mow it or use a whipper snipper to trim it.
we have ideas on raised gardens on our site that may give you some ideas?
On Mon, 26 Feb 2007 16:47:38 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior
snipped With peace and brightest of blessings,
len
-- "Be Content With What You Have And May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In A World That You May Not Understand."
http://www.lensgarden.com.au /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Thanks, len! Interesting site!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 26 Feb 2007 16:47:38 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

Cover it with black plastic till it's dead. This is quick in full sun but will work eventually in the shade. No-till is the rage these days but I've been tilling a long time and have had some nice gardens. It depends allot on how much topsoil you've got and what you want to go through to add to it. Sometimes tilling is good. If you're growing something like carrots and have heavy clay covered by an inch of topsoil tilling will break things up enough for the carrots. If you've got a foot of topsoil you don't need to till. In any case mint grows like a weed and the soil makes little difference. A herbicide would work too.
I would mulch heavily around the mint transplants. Eventually the mint will take over but some grasses will compete. Another way to do this would be to cover the grass with cardboard and or layered newspaper, with grass clippings, shredded leaves, etc. on top. After the grass is dead plant mint through the mulch.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Only for 6 months of the year, surely. I grow a lot of mints and all of them do the same thing; in autumn the leaves fall off, the stalks die, and you're left with bare earth until spring. Or, since you have bog dogs running around, bare mud :-)
Janet
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You're tired of mowing, so you want to plant mint. That's a great plan, if your idea of fun is crushing your fingers in car doors while having your hair set on fire and your leg attacked by a rabid Doberman. Mint is invasive, so you'll be doing lots of work keeping it out of where you don't want it. Mowing will not be enough. And, there will probably be leftover grass popping up for a long time. You'll need to deal with that on your hands & knees. Big fun.
As far as making dogs smell good with mint, eliminate that thought from your mind. You never said it. The idea is gone right now.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I want it everywhere. I think we've had this conversation before.

Don't care.

I have a plan. When I trim the tops of the mint, I'll get the high grass, too.

Why? It does. My Wolfhounds and Afghan Hounds always smelled wonderful when they came in from the yard.

Nope, still there.
Oh, yeah, and I like all the insect life it attracts, too. :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

OK - then your motive is NOT that you're tired of mowing. You'll still be mowing. Let me remind you that you are under oath. :-)

Well, dogs will always stink. You'll only be masking it with mint, in the same way cleaning products often have smells added to distract the nose from the chemical smells.

I agree. Better than attracting dogs.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Actually, I *love* mowing. I hated mowing that section of lawn because I had to LIFT the mower over there and then someone put a stinky little circlular garden in that patch of grass the mower couldn't get around so I had to come back with the trimmer to finish, etc. etc. For muss and fuss, it took up 30% of the mowing time for 10% of the total lawn.

Ah. You don't like dogs OR mint. Got it. :)

You know dogs that smell like chemicals? Oh dear.

You can never have enough dogs OR horses. <- Or money, if you have those.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.