Pasture gardening

Fathead71001(5)June 12, 2014

Good morning. I recently moved into the country on 5 acres. The previous owners didn't have a garden and after the move we have been real busy. Since I am getting a late start on my garden, I decided to try and dig it right into the grass instead of tilling for this year. Has anyone tried this? I think my plants will get enough nutrients but I am worried about bugs most. Thoughts anyone? My plan is to "lasagna" garden and lay newspaper over the grass next to the plants and mulch/compost over it.

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I'm not sure what you mean by digging right into the grass.

Some local folks I know bought land here that was originally pasture and what they did was to mark it out in beds and the lay thick black plastic held down by concrete blocks and let the beds sit for two years, which killed the grass and all else, And then tilled and planted. It took them quite a few years to treat all the beds they needed,

The hybridized daylilies but also grew a wide variety of veggies there as well, and when I first moved to this new location they gave me one whole long bed to use in exchange for some tomato varieties ( seeds) they'd never heard of.

The roots for pasture grasses are quite deep, If you were to dig some deep wide holes and throw in some good soil, it might work, but just digging through the grass, well, I have my doubts.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 1:39PM
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It looks to me as if your veggie beds are too narrow. It won't take the grass roots very long to encroach on your veggies.

Since you have already planted, I wonder if you could lay some black plastic down on either side of the vegetable rows. It would help to suppress the weeds and make your job easier when you dig it over in the fall or next spring.

Alternatives to black plastic would be layers of newspaper or other mulch. Anything to suppress the grass.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 1:53PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Since you have already planted


Linda, I went back andl ooked, and maybe it's my eyes, I have to wear reading glasses now, but I saw nothing planted in the to be grass beds. (smile)


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 5:39PM
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Carolyn wrote:

"Linda, I went back andl ooked, and maybe it's my eyes, I have to wear reading glasses now, but I saw nothing planted in the to be grass beds. (smile) "

Oh ha ha! You could well be right! I'm not wearing my reading glasses (bad puppy that I am) but I thought I saw small seedlings planted in the rows. I could well be wrong!


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:30PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

There appears to be seedlings in the rows to me as well. So I have to agree with Linda. :) I would try to widen the rows a bit before smothering the grass/weeds.


This post was edited by theforgottenone1013 on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 19:22

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 7:21PM
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There are few shortcuts there but making fast lasagna beds is not one of them. If you so insist on gardening this year get small part of grass turned over and then lay your leaves and newspaper etc. You will need some fertilizer like blood meal amend as it probably will be lacking in nitrogen trying to compost all that grass. Or get few pots and do containers for this season. Little can be achieved without preparing good soil and that will take some time. Great looking land- very envious!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Thanks for the replies. Yes, the seedlings are already in the rows. I got the pants for free so I thought I might as well give it a shot. I will put down the newspaper and mulch/compost over top of the grass to the sides of the tomato plants and see what happens. If time allows, I will post more pics as the season progresses.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 5:31AM
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You've got nothing to lose by what you've done so far. When I had horses, in June they would be moved to my "summer" pasture, and I would throw in my unneeded extra tomato plants in their winter corral behind the barn. There were lots of weed seeds and grasses back there which I had to trample down all summer, just to see the tomato plants. If I had spent the time to keep them weeded and better cared for, they would have done much better, but even with neglect they gave me some tomatoes.
I second (or third) the idea of mulching heavily around the plants, first newspaper or cardboard layers covered with hay or straw would be ideal to block out weeds. Or black plastic if you prefer.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:12AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I shall upgrade my reading glasses from 3 to 3.5 but the good news is that after the bilateral cataract surgery I can now spear a wooly mammoth at a mile, or could if one was still around. LOL


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 2:59PM
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centexan254 zone 8 Temple, Tx

I would advise as a simple thing to do if you can is to put either some bricks, or heavy large rocks around the base of those plants about an inch off of the stems. This will help with to keep the grass at bay somewhat. Other than that you have plenty of time to decide on how you will prepare for next season.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 3:35PM
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Good luck with the new specs Carolyn (LOL).

Glad to hear that you will be safe from Woolly Mammoths - as long as that isn't the name of a new tomato variety!


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 5:12PM
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Some years ago, in a town not far from Carolyn, I grew my best tomato crop ever when given permission to plant on a section of pasture land. I mowed the grass low, planted the tomatoes 4' apart, laid black plastic secured with stones and bricks around each plant...and allowed the weed growth between each row and around the plot to mature and blossom. The tomato vines just sprawled on the black plastic, free to wander. It looked messy! But, no blights, no damaged plants and an extra heavy yield. Lots of beneficial insects.

About the first week in September DH proudly told me he had cleaned up the ugly tomato patch, weed eating everything around the black plastic. Two days later the plants began to yellow and disease problems appeared. Further years of experimenting leads me to encourage the OP to surround the plants with black plastic, let the plants sprawl and allow the pasture weeds to grow up around the planting to protect the tomatoes.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:06PM
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