Question about starting garden

I'm planning on planting a small garden in my back yard. Currently there's lawn with grass growing where I want to plant. When you till the soil, can you just mix in the grass? Or should the grass be removed first, then tilled, and compost added?
-Thanks
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wrote:

Remove the grass and heap it to start a compost pile. It will make compost in a few months. Manually remove rocks, roots, etc. It would be good to purchase compost if you do not have some, then till it in when the soil is not too damp. I usually till in a little 10-10-10, best to test your soil.
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Don't just till the grass into the garden. Many bits of it will grow again and it will become a weed problem in your garden. Most posters here are anti-chemical and won't mention this, but the quick and easy way to solve the grass problem is to spray it with glyphosate (Round Up), then till it in a couple of days later.
Andrew

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On Fri, 24 Apr 2009 23:21:58 -0700, Billy wrote:

Wow, that seems like an awful lot of work! I also saw your quote from Rachel Carson, to which I would respond, that regardless of the chemicals, life expectancy has skyrocketed to the ripe old age of 75, and will increase even more, probably more than we can imagine, thanks to technology.
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And who has benefited the most? Those who are subjected to pollutants (industrial areas, w/ or w/out smokestacks), the poor (who may eat tainted food, or nutritionally impoverished foods comprised of fats and carbohydrates), farm workers (subjected to herbicides and pesticides)? You will find these populations don't benefit from their exposure to toxic chemicals or nutrient impoverished foods.
We live longer not because we are healthier but because of earlier diagnosis and medical intervention. How much longer would we live, without our body's burden of toxic chemicals that we carry around inside of ourselves?
http://www.ewg.org/node/15952 What Chemicals Are Lurking Inside Your Body?
Chemicals, toxins, and other dangerous substances exist throughout our environments -- and you may be surprised by how many end up inside your body. WebMD, Dulce Published February 17, 2004 Charlotte Brody feels violated and angry. After years of buying organic products and rejecting artificial chemicals in her gardening, she discovers the presence of the pesticide Dursban in her body. The chemical, used to treat lawns and turfs and to kills termites and mosquitoes, is linked to neurological problems. "I have longed for Dursban at times," says Brody, describing the pains she has taken to remove weeds by hand. "To find out I really couldn't stay away from Dursban really troubled me." Brody learned of her exposure to the now-banned pesticide after participating in a study in which researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 91 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in the blood and urine of nine volunteers. The volunteers did not work with chemicals in their jobs and did not live near an industrial facility. The list includes compounds found in insecticides, cosmetic and personal-care products, cleaning solutions, paint, fuel, and industrial pollutants such as PCBs and dioxin. Many have been linked to cancer in animals or humans, and about half are toxins or cause birth defects. Some of the subjects were surprised to hear they had stuff like lead, arsenic, and flame-retardants in their system, what some experts refer to as a person's "body burden."
Debates Aplenty
Although the technology to check for one's body burden -- called biomonitoring -- is nothing new, its use appears to both give revelations about the connection between people and the environment, and fuel debate about where that connection begins and ends. In the study in which Brody participated, watchdog agencies the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Commonweal commissioned the biomonitoring test to document the "pollution in people," according to Jane Houlihan, EWG's vice president of research. The study, Houlihan says, reveals individuals may be even more vulnerable to toxicants than previously thought. "It's even likely that there's an even higher burden of disease from our exposures to different chemicals because we are exposed to so many simultaneously," she says. Yet the link between the presence of chemicals in human blood and evidence of disease is not always solid. And if a link exists, there is often heated discussion over what level of exposure crosses the line into danger. While the jury is still out, many health professionals suggest ways people can reduce their contact with contaminants, but even that topic inspirespassionate dialogue. "What can I do to protect my health?" ponders Brody. "Going through this biomonitoring made me feel like for this question, there are very few 'I' answers. There are only 'we' answers." For that matter, answers seem to coexist with questions when it comes to discussions about body burden, disease, and preventing contamination. The overriding question here may, indeed, be, "What isn't in question?" Chemical Exposure = Danger? If we all remember our periodic table of the elements from high school science, chemical compounds are everywhere in the environment, and some of it can be found within ourselves -- for instance, oxygen. What could make a chemical harmful is the amount of it that gets inside the body. "If there's a chemical out in the environment that's stuck to a piece of clay, but it never leaves that piece of clay, and it never gets inside your body, it never can hurt you," explains James Pirkle, MD, PhD, deputy director for science at the CDC's environmental health lab. Some elements have been proved to be health hazards, says Pirkle, pointing to the established connection between lead and neurological disease, and cigarette smoke and cancer. Yet there are many more mysterious compounds, says Shelley Hearne, DrPh, executive director of Trust for America's Health (TFAH), a nonprofit organization advocating for disease prevention. "The majority of chemicals that we routinely use in this country have not been adequately tested for their effects on humans," says Hearne, calling for the government to do standard toxicological testing on substances in the market. The CDC routinely evaluates compounds it suspects may cause health hazards. In fact, the agency is currently evaluating a set of manmade chemical called phthalates, which are often used in some food packaging, toys, automobile plastics, and cosmetic products such as soap, shampoo, nail products, deodorants, and lotions. Animal studies show very high levels of some phthalates can cause birth defects in the male reproductive system, including undescended testicles, absent testicles, and a physical defect of the penis. Researchers are still trying to figure out the effects of phthalates on humans and what levels of it are safe. Hearne argues that synthetic chemicals don't belong inside the human body and it is only common sense to conclude that they're not good for people. She says, "If I find out that I've got levels of a substance -- while we're not sure what level is bad for you -- but we do have indications that, one, this isn't naturally occurring, and, two, that at higher levels, it's a known toxin, I don't want it there." Vern L. Schramm, PhD, chairman of the biochemistry section of the American Chemical Society, says it's important to keep things in perspective. "There are more toxins in the human body that are naturally occurring than those that are manmade," he says, citing the following examples: Most of the mercury in the fish we eat comes from rock sediments in the ocean, much of the arsenic in water leaks from rocks in aquifers, and dioxin is simply a byproduct of flame and cooking. Even with all the natural and artificial chemicals in the environment, Schramm says the human body is usually well equipped to deal with a small amount of toxins. Additionally, he says there is value to some manmade compounds. Babies who come in contact with fire-resistant clothes, for example, may have some flame retardant compounds in their system, but such garments save lives, says Schramm. Fewer kids reportedly die of burns because of flame-resistant wear.
Reducing Exposure
Regardless of reassurances from experts that most everyday chemicals are safe, there are people who might worry that they may be wrong. For those individuals, Houlihan offers the following advice: Choose organic products. Eat fewer fatty and processed foods. Use soap and water instead of more chemically intensive household cleaners. Forgo optional treatments on carpet, furniture, and car upholstery. Brody also encourages people to get involved in advocating for less pollution. "What can we do to change policies so that we're protected?" she asks. Groups like EWG and TFAH ask those same questions and press the government for more research on the effects of compounds on health. The EWG, in particular, urges authorities to look into the cumulative effects of coexisting substances, as opposed to just the impact of one chemical. Houlihan says there's growing evidence that otherwise safe doses of chemicals, when put together, can cause harm. The CDC regularly assesses the chemical exposure level of the U.S. population through biomonitoring tests and comes out with its findings every two years. In the last report, scientists checked for 116 different environmental chemicals in the blood and urine of some 2,500 people. ------
The bad guys are Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra, Cargill, American Cyanamid, Ciba-Geigy, Monsanto, Syngenta, Exxon Mobil) and foundations that have benefited from petroleum (e.g. Koch Family Foundations and Scaife Foundations), and The Hudson Institute, among others. They and their products should be boycotted.
--

- Billy
"For the first time in the history of the world, every human being
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"James Egan" wrote:

Depends on your definition of "small", how hard you're willing to work, and what surprises you'll find once you begin working the earth. For an area under say a thousand square feet you're probably better off spading by hand, turning over clumps of sod to dry so you can shake out the top soil and remove rocks as you go, then compost the plant material (I would suggest shaking out the top soil onto a tarp so you don't lose any to your existing lawn and to keep it separate until later when it can be more evenly distributed). Or you can just dig in with a good sized tiller, making passes until all the sod is pulverized. No matter which method (or combination thereof) there will still entail plenty of hand raking to grade and remove rocks and debris. Figure on at least three years of tilling, raking, picking rocks, and amending before the soil in your plot is considered adequately prepped... rocks have a way of constantly moving to the surface of disturbed soil, especially the first few years. Of course preparing a garden also has a lot to do with ones personal concept of perfection weighed against ones stamina.
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I'd use a hybrid method based on various ideas here, but (especially) if you want to grow edibles, ignore idiots who suggest using chemicals like Roundup on the garden. Cover the area thickly with newsprint, then mulch. Dig out only think strips where you want to plant seeds or plants. The idea is to stop the grass from competing with whatever you plant.
If you till the grass, you won't kill it. You'll just chop it into a million pieces and much of it will grow back quickly. You can try and pick it out, but that's crazy. The absolute best way is to slice the turf into manageable pieces and then slice under it to remove it. At that point, it's best to shake/chop/curse off the excellent soil that clings to the roots. Imagine how much fun that is for a large area.
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"JoeSpareBedroom" wrote:

Actually the sod that's chopped up doesn't grow back, *new* "weeds" grow back, and grow back constantly unless properly mulched... in my veggie garden I use mulching cloth around the plants and corrogated cardborad for walking paths. I leave the cloth and cardboard all winter or lots more weeds will grow at the end of fall and early spring. In about two weeks I'll be rolling up the cloth to reuse and will till the whole thing, old cardboard too... I have plenty of new cardboard saved.
The absolute best way is to slice the turf into manageable

I just spade out clumps about 8" deep. Flipped root up on a sunny day the soil will dry well enough in two hours to crumble with gloved hands... I place the clods on a heavy plastic tarp to dry, then crumble into a wheelbarrow (easier on the back). Once I have a mountain of de-soiled sod I hose it off to remove the last bits, then into the composter with only vegetable matter, why fill the composter with soil. I fill 5 gallon contractor buckets with stones as I go, I rinse the top soil from those too before dumping the stones into the creek. It's surprising how much one can accomplish in a short time when using a system. I use the same system every time I dig a 5-6 foot diameter hole to plant a tree/shrub. That's the only time I add purchased top soil for what's lost in the digging and from rocks... I'd rather not dig holes in my wooded areas for fill. The top soil I buy is from a local guy who specializes in dredging lakes and ponds, excellent black gold. There are many livestock farms very close by where I can get manure for free, but it's not composted so I'd rather buy bagged. I don't need to fertilize my lawn, the deer and Canada geese do an excellent job.
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wrote:

I asked a friend how he removed grass for his garden. He tilled the grass right into the soil and raked out the roots. The grass that was tilled deep turned to decomposed, and the remaining removed later. Sounds like the easiest method and I don't see any remaining grass in the plot.
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So the bed would be ready for perennials in 2 weeks?
I'm starting to move in a couple of weeks and hoping to take some of my garden with me. The new place has a small yard all grassed over. I have to move everything over within the next month and a half and will have a good supply of cardboard once I unpack the boxes.
A friend has suggested I try the lasagna method, but I was under the impression you shouldn't really break through the cardboard for the first season. So do you think I could do it within the next month or should I start my back exercises now? (For the spading up of the yard.) Dora
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In article
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

You don't have a month, Dora, but lasagna gardening is the best chance that you have. Even if you just slap down the paper or cardboard, and plant straight away through it, it is the best chance you have.
--

- Billy
"For the first time in the history of the world, every human being
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We're a bit behind you seasonally here - the ground has thawed but a lot of plants haven't broken out yet - so I might have more time than that. I'll give it a try. Thanks. Dora
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