I've just started moving into a new property which also comes with the
daunting task of getting new gardens put in. The soil quality is okay, but
it's full of tree roots and some very over grown lawn. I'm thinking to save
my back among other things, I should try to get a roto-tiller for a day or
something like that. Does anyone have any recommendations or better
suggestions? And what strength/grade of machinery I should rent?
Any tips would be appreciated.
Ali you don't say where you are, but you must be somewhere other than "
winter is coming soon". <VBG>
With a new property I think its always wise to go slowly with new garden
ventures. Pick a spot ( ONE SMALL spot) for your first effort and focus
on it while you get a feel for changing light over seasons. Create a
compost pile as a savings account. Feed the compost pile as much as you can
while you watch and plan. yeah we all want it gorgeous tomorrow, but
gorgeous takes a while, and is a compromise between Want and Can Maintain.
If you have lots of tree roots and intractable overgrown lawn, chances are
rototilling will be a LOT of work and you'll still have weed seeds and
grass seeds to fight. That lovely sight of LOTS of dark earth newly tilled
is a huge motivator to plant our brains out but it fills in fast with weeds
If you have just moved you'll have boxes ( lots of them). Cardboard
boxes laid over close mown grass and covered with soil will smother weeds
and provide planting space, and sheet composting is a useful and back
saving concept. Go slow and create the beauty at a rate you will be
comfortable maintaining rather than rush to make it happen all at once.
There is little so frustrating as too much too fast and it doesn't work
over the long haul.
Last fall I rented a rototiller and tilled an area that had
been lawn and with much of in the root zone of a big maple felled the
previous year. I rented a big reartine tiller and it did a pretty good
job of mixing everything up. It broke a few roots and went over
others. Previously, in the spring, I had covered the area to be tilled
with black plastic to kill the grass.
Getting rid of what's growing now where you want to till is
the key. If you just till up a living lawn you might get away with
only putting out plants, mulching heavily and hand pulling all the
grass that gets through next year. Then the year after that you could
have a mostly grass-free garden. Be aware that grass is the worst
weed there is.
In my younger days I would dig a trench, cut the sod of the
next section and put it in the trench. Then cover that with the soil
from where the sod was. Go on and on like that and you can bury all
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