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im in zone 6a and I just recently moved into a home with a fenced in backyard. It has a large-ish raised bed...but i'd actually like to do an in-ground garden this year since i've never had the chance to.

Thing is...spring will be starting in a couple of months, and the lawn is grassy like any other lawn. is there a no-till approach that will at least get me to a "planting time" by spring?

I've heard of lasagna gardening, but I know that takes time. Could I perhaps place some cardboard over my area (planned to be 8x4) to at least kill the grass and then just dump some soil/compost over it till April/Spring planting time?

Or would the cardboard not be decomposed enough by then?

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You don't need to kill the grass. Just lay newspaper on the area and build up your lasagne bed. One you've built it up, you plant straight away.

Wet layered newspapers form a better weed barrier than cardboard. You can use the cardboard as a top mulch instead.

These are the instructions I used for the no dig garden I did a few months ago.

https://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/no-dig-gardening/

  • Will it decompose fast enough for spring? IE: when I should I start laying this stuff down (My last frost date is in april). Everything I read said you need to wait a year before stuff will grow in this? Can you may explain how the layers should be? what do I actually plant the seeds in. – msmith1114 Feb 18 '18 at 6:24
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    I added a link. You plant into a little soil or potting mix for each plant, and plant as soon on you've finished all the layers – Graham Chiu Feb 18 '18 at 8:29
  • Do you think this is something I can do before spring? I guess im just worried about the roots actually penetrating the cardboard (then again I guess I could just cut a whole in the cardboard though. – msmith1114 Feb 19 '18 at 4:14
  • Cardboard goes on top if you use it. Cut holes in it to plant. If your plants are ready to be planted normally, then they can go into a lasagne bed. – Graham Chiu Feb 19 '18 at 4:26
  • Cool, I guess the only worry i've read with cardboard is that it contains glue in some...but seems like it wouldn't be enough to hurt anything. – msmith1114 Feb 19 '18 at 4:45
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If you want to get up and running this season in zone 6a using permaculture principles, place your soil amendments (compost, manure, mulch, etc...) directly on top of the grass. Stake down a layer or two of weedblock fabric over the area. You can do this all without even waiting for the soil to defrost.

By the time you're ready to plant, the lawn will be dead if not already composted. Cut X's through the fabric and trowel or drill in your plants. Leave the fabric in place for the first season, roll it up in the Fall and amend your bed by top dressing and mulching.

Weed blocks are as durable as shovels and can be used over and over again. The cardboard method is better suiting to reclaim difficult to weed areas filled with difficult weeds. You have a small plot and want to plant this season.

5 oz. professional grade weed block

As with most materials, if used inappropriately, weed block can be worthless. The technique I describe wherein weed block is used on the surface like a durable reusable tarpaulin, to shade the lawn grass, kill it and raise the temperature of the soil and finally to increase the rate of decay is entirely appropriate. This method also avoids tilling. All too frequently it is used as a lazy method to underlie shallow landscaping projects. That is not what I suggested here.

  • Good call, I just had an abundance of cardboard from moving boxes thats why I mentioned it...but didn't know if they'd be "soft" enough in 2-3 months. Sidenote: I've heard weed barriers are bad for gardens? or is this just a bunch of nay-say – msmith1114 Feb 18 '18 at 18:49
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    Don't bother with weed barriers. As I said use the cardboard as the top layer – Graham Chiu Feb 19 '18 at 0:43

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