Converting lawn into garden
Hi, I'm turning a 20x16 ft section of my lawn into a vegetable & fruit garden. It has full sun and slopes about 3 ft from northwest to southeast corner. My current plan is to cover the the lawn in a impermeable black tarp in order to kill off the grass. Then I will till it thoroughly before the ground is too hard (maybe end of November depending on temperature and snowfall). At that time, I plan to collect and submit a soil sample for testing. Based on test results, I will apply the soil amendments this year, and plan in the spring. I would like to avoid renting a sod cutter or digging it up with a shovel; therefore killing it and tilling it in. How much will tilling the dead sod into the future garden area have? I also am unsure if I should get a sample of the soil before tilling (to test current soil condition), after tilling (as this is what I would plant in, or in the spring (more time to equalize). What would be the best? I'm wondering if you could give me some suggestions, especially with regards to these last questions. Thanks for your help! Nick
Ramsey County Minnesota
Testing the soil first (now) is advisable so you can incorporate the recommended amendments this fall.
Although you do not plan to cut or remove the sod, it might not be necessary to kill it before tilling. Sod fragments, dead or alive now, will decompose by spring and enrich the soil. Some living sod fragment may take root but a final late fall tilling should remedy that.