By Sally McCabe
PHS Associate Director, Community Education
Kill the Lawn
Sunny real estate is best for growing vegetables. But what if you don’t have much of that, or especially what if it’s all taken up by lawn? How do you get your space ready to grow in a hurry? In an ideal world, we would plop down some raised beds, bring in a delivery of topsoil and compost mix, and get planting. But if acquiring both of those are problematic, we need to start thinking about KILLING SOME LAWN. You can free-up your prime real estate for growing using a couple of different methods.
Grasses are tenacious plants. Herbicides work well, but we are not recommending them if you want to grow vegetables soon. The easiest way to kill your lawn is to smother it all with some sort of cover, like plywood, mats, cardboard, or plastic, anything that will totally block the light. These materials will work even better if you add some weight. The longer you leave your barrier in place, the better a job it will do at killing your lawn! Especially if you can leave it in place for several weeks to a month, or a shorter time if you add the weight.
Removing grass manually is very effective, and it is hard work. But it is a job you can do in a day or two if you don’t want to wait. Remove as much root material as you possibly can—sounds like a job for stuck-at-home kids! Then mix in any compost you have available and you are ready to get planting!