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Those of you who've done this, what do you do the first year when you're starting out with grass? My dad tills his garden every year, usually multiple times. I've done a raised bed for my 4x8 salad garden, but on a larger scale, that seems a waste of time and money when we've got such fantastic soil here already. OTOH, I have no idea how to create a bed without tilling it first. Help!
 

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I really like what Ken teaches<br><a href="http://www.countrysidemag.com/issues/86/86-4/Ken_Hargesheimer.html" target="_blank">http://www.countrysidemag.com/issues...gesheimer.html</a><br><br><a href="http://www.nabuur.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?post_id=82335&topic_id=6174" target="_blank">http://www.nabuur.com/modules/newbb/...&topic_id=6174</a><br><br>
the second web site has his email he is great about answering questions<br><br>
and this is his site<br><a href="http://www.minifarms.com/" target="_blank">http://www.minifarms.com/</a>
 

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Hmmm. It looks like for backyard gardens, he just recommends <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fdp%2F1580087965%2F" target="_blank">John Jeavons'</a> <a href="http://www.endtimesreport.com/french_intensive_gardening.html" target="_blank">double dug raised beds</a>, which are even more work (and require more special tools) than <a href="http://squarefootgardening.com/" target="_blank">SFG's raised beds</a>. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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We have been in our home for 5 years, and every year I start a new no till bed on grass. I use the lasagna method, since that is easiest for me. I lay down a thick pad of newspapers (I ask my co-workers to save them for me for a week or two and usually have more than enough) and wet it. Then I layer on chopped leaves, mulch, compost, wood ash, peat moss (if I have it), old straw from the barn... whatever organic materials I have on hand. There are tons of websites on no till and lasagna gardening with details and lists of material suggestions. This all makes a raised bed with no sides. Mine are about 6 to 8 inches tall after the winter settling and composting... but in the spring they are much higher since I add compost every year. If you build it in the spring like I do, the first year you can't really plant tiny seeds. I plant things like potatoes and plants in the new beds. When you put in a plant, just make a hole in the layers, add a little dirt or manure, plop the plant in and you are done!
 

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I forgot... <a href="http://www.dacres.org/No-Till%20Garden.htm" target="_blank">Here</a> is a good link for you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter #6
<a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/1986-07-01/Mothers-Minigardens.aspx" target="_blank">Mother's Minigardens</a><br><br>
I found this article this afternoon, comparing four methods: double dug raised beds, tilled raised beds, conventional rows, and deep mulch. I'm leaning toward combining the tilled raised beds (tilling this year only) with deep mulch (which my parents always did anyway). I've still got plenty of time, though, so I'm open to more suggestions and info!<br><br>
Off to read serenetabbie's link now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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What did you think of that information? Have you chosen how you will start the new garden? Find any other new ideas? When you start, Take lots of photos... we love photos here!
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">Those of you who've done this, what do you do the first year when you're starting out with grass? My dad tills his garden every year, usually multiple times. I've done a raised bed for my 4x8 salad garden, but on a larger scale, that seems a waste of time and money when we've got such fantastic soil here already. OTOH, I have no idea how to create a bed without tilling it first. Help!</div>
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I was coming here to ask the exact same thing! My dad is also an avid tiller. I have been reading more about no-till techniques, and mentioned this to my parents and they looked at me as though I said I was going to start smoking crack.<br>
I need to read these links a little more in depth, but I think I will probably till this year and then try to start mulching more next year. When is a good time to start the mulching/lasagna method?
 

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I've done one Mel's Mix bed, one double dug bed (thanks, DH! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">), and one lasagna bed so far in my current house. The double-dug bed was, far and away, the most productive. It is a lot of work at first, but wow, the results are great. I'm not sure whether I did the lasagna bed incorrectly, but the first year, my results were poor. The second year, with the addition of a little finished compost, the results were great. I think my compost materials in the bed just didn't compost enough over the winter the first year (it was a very dry winter here), and too many nutrients were still bound up in the soil in the spring.<br><br>
Anyway, I'd do a lasagna bed again if I planned far enough in advance. One ho hum year, followed by good years in the same bed is OK with me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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I guess my problem with double dug beds is that they assume you have very little topsoil and therefore must bring up nutrients from subsoil that starts 6" below the surface. I'm in Iowa, home of the deepest topsoil in the world (6' deep before white men started farming here). I've dug 18+" in my own yard without hitting subsoil. I don't know how far down I would have to go, but 2' isn't unusual.<br><br>
Square Foot Gardening also assumes you have inadequate soil. Iowa soil, again, is extremely fertile. I spent a lot of money (relatively) just to build and fill one 4x8 box for my salad garden.<br><br>
Even if I wanted to do 10 SFGs or 6-8 double dug beds, it's not an option this year. I have a newborn, and my husband will be in Iraq before spring. Plus, it just seems silly when I've seen the yields people get from tilled rows here. I want to conserve the soil I have, and avoid chemicals.
 

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Actually, I think the primary reason for double-digging is aerating the soil. But really, if you have great soil, why not just use a flat shovel to lift off the sod, spread a little compost, plant, and mulch heavily?<br><br>
Also, I am seriously jealous of your soil. I am just over the border in WI, and I have no topsoil. Seriously. There is <i>maybe</i> an inch of topsoil under the sod, and beneath that, it is clay. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
 
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