starting a new garden plot from lawn

Asked November 6, 2019, 1:44 PM EST

I'm helping to start a large garden from existing lawn to be ready for the spring. The owner went ahead a tilled up the lawn in 4' by 11' rows and then asked me what to do from there. The grass was not killed beforehand and the clumps of grass have not been racked out and the cold weather is starting to hit. My thought is to add some mulch and compost and til into the beds and then cover for the winter and fertilize in the spring. Will there be too much grass coming up because it was not removed properly? is there a better way? a soil test has been done and the PH in 7.8. Should i be adding sulfur? Thank you for any advice!

Kent County Michigan vegetable gardening

1 Response

Hello

It would have been best to have killed the grass, i.e. smothered with black plastic (for 2-3 months) before tilling. If you can rake out and remove the grass clumps before adding anything, this will help reduce the chance of it growing again next year. Once you've removed as much of the grass clumps as you can, then add some composted materials and mulch, i.e. shredded leaves, and till this into the soil. We would also suggest you add some peat moss as this will help lower the pH. Once you work everything into the soil, you can then cover it with shredded leaves or compost; but we don't suggest covering it with a material.
The soil test should have provided the amount needed for fertilizer and if any sulfur was recommended. Once spring comes, you can remove any additional grass clumps before planting.
Here is an extension resource on preparing a vegetable garden: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/preparing_the_smart_vegetable_garden