When creating a new planting bed, whether its for flowers or vegetables or herbs, getting rid of the existing grass and weeds is the hardest thing. So lets talk about ways to remove it.
Dig it Out
One way to get rid of the grass in your new flower bed is to dig it out. I like to use a flat edge shovel. With it you can scoop down under the grass and get the roots without digging down and losing all your precious dirt.
I like this method because you are able to get most all of the grass and its roots and that means less weeding later! #yayforlessweeding
It is the method I use most of the time, including when I created this Phlox bed.
What I don’t like about it is that it is HARD work! Your back will protest. #tylenolismyfriend
You will also need to replace the soil that was removed along with the grass. Hopefully you have lots of soil in your compost pile to use. If not, join the 5 Day Composting Challenge and get started NOW!
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Using a weed and grass killer, spray the area thoroughly. (I like Spectracide brand.) You have to be careful with the sprays, they will kill all vegetation including your flowers and vegetables and herbs.
I like to use a cardboard box to protect nearby plants from overspray. Open the bottom of the box and set right over the plant you need to protect. Remove when you are finished spraying.
Read the label to decide how long you have to wait before planting.
When I created the new flowerbed behind my garden shed, I sprayed the grass in the fall, and easily pulled out the dead grass in the spring when ready to plant my new flowers.
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Cover With Newspaper
Cover the area with a thick layer of newspaper. Wet it down to keep it from blowing away. Top it with mulch. You can plant immediately if you wish, by cutting a small hole in the newspaper and planting in the hole.
The newspaper will block the light to the grass and weeds and smother them.
Newspaper is kind of hard to find these days, so I haven’t done it this way in years.
Cover With Cardboard
Use cardboard to cover the area. Top the cardboard with mulch.
Or, if you won’t be planting until much later (spring), top with leaves and soil. It won’t take long for it to all breakdown and produce good soil.
Again, you can plant immediately if you want, by cutting a hole in the cardboard and planting in the hole.
I am using this method now as I expand my strawberry beds. First putting down cardboard (after weedeating the grass as short as possible) directly on the ground and then filling the bed with leaves, and topping the leaves with soil. This should create really good soil for spring planting.
Cover With Plastic
Covering the area with plastic will quickly kill the grass. Plastic will produce heat that will quickly kill the plants underneath. You cannot leave the plastic forever like you can newspaper and cardboard and will need to remove it at some point. You can cover it with mulch for aesthetics.
The last new bed that I created was the Mailbox Garden, which I will be enlarging again this fall. Being thrifty, I have been working on this “new” 2 year old flower bed in stages. Like most average homeowners, I cannot afford to buy all the plants necessary to do it all at once.
Click on this link for more ideas for Thrifty Gardening.
Fine Gardening has some tips you might be interested to read in this Four Way s to Remove Sod article.