2009 Casual Gardener “Get It Garden” Challenge – First Step – Grass Removal
Welcome to the 2009 Casual Gardener “Get It Garden” Challenge!! The idea for the challenge is to create a garden that makes a difference in your life and your community, then share it with The Casual Gardener readers.
First step to building a garden which can inspire and help the world? Getting rid of whatever is in your way. In my case; grass. Lots and lots of grass. Did I tell you how much I dislike grass?
In my opinion, Americans put grass everywhere and it sucks. Literally. It sucks water like it’s going out of style and is a poor choice for a sustainable garden because most people also use chemicals to maintain grass in a lush and unnatural state.
American’s carbon footprint is unbelievably large when it comes to taking care of grass – imagine all the oil and gas used which emit fumes and chemicals into our natural environment.
There are several solutions to grass removal. Techniques include stripping off the sod, killing the grass with chemicals, or killing the grass by cutting off its sun exposure. As a sustainable gardener, I do not feel comfortable using chemicals on my lawn unless it is a last resort. It poisons the water table, poisons animals, and disrupts the microbial activity in soil more than tilling it under does.
My preferred choice is removing the sod with a shovel. Without a machine to perform the task, removing sod can be quite challenging, but it is a sustainable way of doing it. Cut pieces of grass, then use your shovel to loosen and remove the sod.
This presents a good opportunity to have friends from the community help you out. Dale Simpson, Jr., a good friend and a professional archaeologist, came to my rescue. His experience in digging all over the world definitely helped with this three day grass removal extravaganza – you see him here in the photos slicing the sod, then removing it. You can see the before, during, and after grass removal in the photos.
How are you getting your garden started this season?
Remember, as you build your garden, please send photos and details to me, Shawna Coronado and I will post your successes – and your failures – so we can all learn how to make a difference with a garden. Please send anything you can – what do you do with all the vegetables you harvest for instance? Will you sell them for additional family income? Will you give them away to local food banks? My readers want to know ALL the details.
Let’s build a garden together! Please join the 2009 Casual Gardener “Get It Garden” Challenge today and help make a difference for yourself and your community.
Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!
In defense of lawns, I’d like to offer an essay by George Ball. It’s not a short read, but once you get started, it moves along at a quick pace. It shows, and provides evidence that lawns are beneficial. I’m not saying that what you’re doin is a bad idea, but some of us like our lawns, and we don’t do anything more than an occasional mowing. (I think having a nicely trimmed lawn is conducive to a healthy lawn which in turn does wonders to help trap carbon.)
Here’s the link to Mr. Ball’s essay entitled “Lawn Love.”
I’ve created/expanded my beds almost exclusively by using lasagna layering (newspaper, soil, mulch). Yay!
We also do the lasagna method. Less wear and tear on the back from removing sod. 🙂 We layer newspaper, grass clippings, compost, straw, repeat with everything except the newspaper, then top with straw mulch. Each fall we plant cover crops on the beds. In the spring we cut down the cover crops, loosely hoe in the roots, then top with fresh compost. Use the chopped down greens from the cover crops to layer in new beds too. You’re set to plant. 🙂
I actually like our lawn but I’ve done a few things that allow it to be eco-friendly for the most part. I don’t fertilize. I don’t really need to because I do other things. I mow the grass high which allows for deeper roots. I only mow when I need to, I’ll go for 10-14 days in the summertime without mowing since it just doesn’t need it. I have cool season fescue that tends to go dormant in the heat. I over seed each year in the fall. That being said I am definitely in favor of adding gardens all over the place. I’ve eliminated quite a bit of my lawn in favor of gardens.
I use the newspaper technique a lot. Where you lay it down then cover with soil or mulch to kill off the grass underneath. There’s a no till garden approach that involves adding material on top of the garden each year that sounds promising.
All fantastic ideas – keep’em coming! It’s almost time to start planting and I’m so excited!