Filling in a Vegetable Patch! - Knowledgebase Question

Oak Lawn, Il
Avatar for caitgreenwoo
Question by caitgreenwoo
March 10, 2010
We bought a new house in a suburb of Chicago last fall. The previous owner had huge swaths of the back yard cut out for veggies and other plants. The problem is that I have two dogs and the now-empty patches are tempting mud puddles with dead plants for them to roll in and dig up! What is the best way to clear these patches and convert them to a grassy lawn for us and the dogs to enjoy?

Thank you

Answer from NGA
March 10, 2010
Spring is a great time to begin your project! The only problem I foresee is keeping your dogs out of the areas until the grass establishes. Maybe some sturdy stakes and chicken wire will work? Start by pulling or rototilling up the existing vegetation. The soil should be loamy if it's been used as a vegetable garden. If not, you can spread a few inches of compost or other organic matter over the soil and rototill it in. Then level the area and roll it with a water filled roller to compact enough to make a good base for the lawn. The soil should be about an inch lower than the rest of your lawn. As the grass grows, the roots and thatch will fill that inch. After you have the soil at the right level, broadcast your grass seeds and cover over them with a thin layer of peat or sand - to help the seeds make good contact with the soil, to keep them moist so they germinate quickly, and to thwart hungry birds. Keep the seed bed moist by watering several times a day. In warm weather grass seeds usually sprout in 7-10 days. After you've mowed the lawn 2-3 times the roots should be well established and you can remove the temporary fence. Best wishes with your project!

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