Lose the lawn to grow your own.

Vegetable garden

With the credit crunch still looming large and space of such a premium these days more and more people are looking to find room to grow their own fruit, veg and herbs.  Now not all of us have gardens that can accommodate a large vegetable patch, so we have to look at ways we can shoe-horn crops into our gardens.

Many small gardens have the majority of the space dedicated to the green stuff…….lawns.  I am only a fan of lawns if you have enough space for it to be worthwhile, so why not use the space for growing veg.  There are a few ways you can go about this, firstly what is called the no-dig method.

Build raised beds right on top of the lawn using either untreated sleepers or chunky timber.  These should be about 300mm high and as big as you can afford them to be (ideally 1.5m by 3m or more) then add a good layer of well rotted farm yard manure to the bottom and cover with a thick layer of newspaper and give it a good soak then fill it up with good top soil or compost.  The paper and manure all rots down adding nutrients and attracting worms that will work the soil for you, meaning you don’t have to dig!!  Turf is full of nitrogen when it rots down and this make great plant food promoting leafy growth so is ideal for salad crops and leafy veg like spinach and chard.

You can also buy instant raised vegetable garden kits, they are dead easy to install and only take a few minutes to set up.  Fill them up with compost and off you grow!

The other option is to strip the turf off and double dig the area adding plenty of manure.  I would dig a trench a spade deep add manure to the bottom and then back fill mixing in the manure as you go.  This is more work and you also will most probably disturb dormant weed seeds, so be prepared for some weeding over the coming season.

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4 thoughts on “Lose the lawn to grow your own.

  1. Hi there, I would love to grow more of my own veg. I grew tomatoes and rasberries last year and have some fruit trees but would like to do more. The problem that I have though is that my dog loves veggies and digging and I’m worried she will dig eveything up. She even tries to dig up my tree roots. Any suggestions?

    Regards

    Sally

  2. Hi Sally, the only real solution is to fence off an area so that your dog cannot get at your precious crops. I am no dog expert but I imagine it is near impossible to train your dog to leave them alone so this is probably your best option. People do suggest moth balls as a deterrent but they are actually toxic so don’t! Other deterrents include spreading hot chilli powder or flakes but that just seems mean to me. I would install a nice picket fence and make the veggie garden a feature.

  3. Hi Sven, I think you’re right. I thought it was probably the best option but as I’m a complete novice in the garden I didn’t want to go to too much expense, only for it all to be a complete failure! I do find it surpisingly enjoyable though even if the results are a bit hit and miss. Could give me any tips on how not to kill lupins? I keep buying them and they never survive.

    Thanks

    Sally

    1. Most commonly the main problem with Lupins suffering is a high pH level. They usually will not grow well in soils that are pH 7.00 or higher they really require slightly acidic soil to thrive. They also dislike heavy soil, this causes the stems to become too soft and they are unable to support the heavy flower heads, so incorporate loads of compost well in advance to improve the soil structure. If that is not enough they can also be savaged by slugs and snails when the leaves are young and tender, so protect them with a good layer of sharp grit around them or some other slug protection.

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