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Starting a Garden on Sod

April 17th, 2013

This is the second installment in the 5×5 Garden Challenge Series. Every Wednesday I’ll be posting about the challenge, covering topics that will help all the new gardeners get started. If you haven’t heard about the challenge head on over to the 5×5 Challenge Website, we’ll also be putting up a page here that pulls in all the 5×5 Challenge posts.
5x5 garden challenge
Chances are, if you don’t already have a garden area, you’ll be starting from scratch for the 5×5 Challenge. I decided to start my garden in the lawn since I thought some of you might be dealing with the same issue. I chose an area in the middle of the yard, away from any large trees and in an area that gets a good amount of sun.
new garden on sod 1
Next up was laying down some kind of mulch to start smothering the sod. It doesn’t have to be really thick, one layer will do. You will want to overlap layers if you don’t have a sheet as big as your garden. ¬†You will also want to extend your cardboard out beyond the 5×5 area just a bit, four or five inches on each side will do. This is done to kill the grass around the edges of the garden. If it’s hot enough in your area already, you can use a piece of clear plastic to kill the grass.
new garden on sod 2
This cardboard won’t be staying down, though you can do that if you want. It should do a great job of killing the grass by the time I want to get my garden started. I thought about putting some chicken litter under the cardboard, thinking the heat from the fresh manure would provide extra heat and kill the grass faster, perhaps I’ll go out and do that tomorrow.
new garden on sod 4
Weighing down the cardboard with rocks is a good idea, I even added a full watering can on top because it was really windy yesterday. It should be interesting to see how long it takes for the grass to die.
new garden on sod 5
If you are starting from sod, I’d highly recommend building a raised bed for your garden. This will make it much easier than digging out the sod. There will be a post about how to build an inexpensive, easy raised bed in this series. I want to make sure this garden looks really nice since I can see it from my kitchen window and it’s right in front of the main entrance to the house.
new garden on sod 3
If you live in a southern climate, you can already be seeding some of your plants. If you have questions, head on over to the discussion forum and hook up with other gardeners in your area.

Have you ever turned sod into a garden?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.