remove grass beneath raised bed?

lindseyaMarch 16, 2009

I'm getting a late start on my long-planned raised bed. In order to plant this year, do I need to remove the grass underneath the bed? I will use 8 or 10" boards.

I have considered renting a sod cutter and removing not only the sod under the bed area but around it and putting chips down for paths.

But if I don't get that ambitious, am I doomed to an eternity of grass growing up into my bed? I know I should have started last year with newspaper or cardboard over the grass but alas, it didn't get done. Thanks in advance for any advice.

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earthworm73(WA z8)

Cardboard and or newspaper is a good idea to smoother the grass. If you do cut the sod with a sod cutter you could turn the cut sod upside down so that the grass side is in the dirt and the dirt side is up. Then you could cover the area with wet newspaper/cardboard. It is not too late.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 2:34AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Turn the sod over and stack it so most of the grass leaves are buried. Skip the paper products.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 2:45AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Check out the soil, mulch and compost forum here on G/W. It's a super forum with lots of info about starting raised beds. Like here, you'll get lots of opinions -- they admit to being compost wackos but I've sure learned a lot there. And, I used cardboard under one of my beds then added about 20 inches of leaf mulch, grass clippings and manure. It smothered the nasty weeds that I had been fighting for years and the cardboard disappears after a while.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 12:02PM
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If you're putting eight or ten inches of soil in those raised beds, you should smother the grass without having to do anything else. Leave the grass. It will compost naturally over time.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 1:57PM
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I had my garden re done and veggie beds raised several yours ago.This is what professionals did exactly as nicely said in this post, so I will paste it:
"Cardboard and or newspaper is a good idea to smoother the grass. If you do cut the sod with a sod cutter you could turn the cut sod upside down so that the grass side is in the dirt and the dirt side is up"
That made sense to me too, so here is what I had to learn the hard way.
I had no veggies for couple of years following that makeover.I had to find out what was eating and killing all my newly planted veggies ?The beds were totally infested with wire worms.When I took a shovel full of soil to garden masters to help me diagnose they were under impression that it took me several hours to collect that many healthy and shiny as they said wire worms.After I explained that I just took a shovel and that is what I came up with.They were shocked and said that the best way to deal with this problem was to remove all soil and start new.I have raised beds and it would have been a huge not to mention expensive project.So I have taken lots of time to learn all about them and how to get rid of them.Took at least 2 to 3 years to get rid of them totally.Wire worms live undisturbed under your lawn not too deeply.They do not travel horizontally so they won't cross to your veggie path even if its next to it.As you disturb "their home"they will come up to surface no matter how high you cover it.They want to live.Since you will have newly planted plants they will eat them or make tunnels in your veggies that nothing will be left for you.So if I were to do it again I would not even consider putting this in the bottom of my compost.I hope it helps you as they are not easy to deal with and they multiply really fast.Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 1:00PM
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I have several raised beds and used the store bought weed barrier matting. That and the 12" of good garden soil killed all the grass. But, i DID turn over the garden paths between them, weed matted and did bark chips...what a mess! The grass crawled out around the edges of the paths and was a constant headache!
I tore out the paths, cut all the sod out, sprayed weed killer, THEN I did the weed matting and bark... a big job but no more grass growing up the sides of my beds!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 5:31PM
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I have several raised beds originally positioned over grass. However, this area was extremely ignored prior to the raised boxes. I just placed the boxed on top of the grass and filled them with rich compost and some topsoil. I figure the grass was killed and composted. I see a lot of worm action now that I did not before. I have not had problems with weeds. Every year I add fresh compost and/or chicken manure. My veggies have thrived. I do not add any amendments to the herb boxes which do quite well.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 2:14AM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

The grass will die by itself with that deep a bed, but you might want to put down a layer of hardware mesh to keep out burrowing animals like voles and rats. I had raised beds built for veggies but didn't put down any hardware mesh, and I never could get a crop from any root crops. Voles ran all through my raised beds.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 12:11PM
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