How to change from Lawn to vegetable Garden - Knowledgebase Question

Romeo, Mi
Question by ramonameiro
October 20, 2009
I would like to change one area of my lawn into a vegatable garden. I live in South East Michigan. What is the best way to remove the lawn (Sod cutter or Rototiller)? What is the best time of year to do that (Spring, Summer Fall)? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods and time of year?

Answer from NGA
October 20, 2009


I'd use a sod cutter now to remove the sod, then turn the sod over on the ground so the roots will be exposed to the elements. It should decompose over the fall and winter months. Then spread 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. To keep winter weeds from popping up you can leave the mulch on the top of the soil to suppress weeds. In the spring you can use a rototiller to dig this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your veggies and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular vegetable garden. Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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