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Turf on or off?

Hi this is my first post here.. I'm looking for someone to add imput into the subject of dig or no dig. I myself was going more no dig but then it came to a new house with vitually no beds so I had to make my mind up whether to dig up the lawn or leave it down. In the end was persuaded to take turf off my large front lawn instead of doing the Charles Dowding (borrowed) method and covering the grass with cardboard and putting soil on top. 
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  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,619
    Can you tell us more about what you want to do?  It sounds like you want to remove your lawn, and plant something else instead (fruit, veg).  Is that correct?  If you can give us more information, you'll get plenty of opinions!  
  • I want to get rid of all my grass (4 beds) eventually on my newly acquired house it's quite a large plot. I have removed the turf of one of the large beds and put down compost/mulch make a flower/shrub garden as I'm not a lawn man. I read a lot about no dig and it would have been a lot less hard work! But I was in 2 minds and in the end decided to take the turf up after consulting some people on another site. Seeing as I have never read anything about growing anything else on cardboard apart from veg. I wondered if anyone with more knowledge had any imput about removing turf or leaving it down . As far as I can see there are pros and cons both ways and wondered if anyone had planted a garden on top of a lawn coverered in cardboard. 





  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,064
    I'm a bit confused. Are these random beds in the middle of the space?
    Normally, you'd need some kind of edging to retain the soil too, and presumably you're putting paths in or similar, or are you having grass paths?
    There's no reason why you can't plant on top, but you run the risk of grass coming through, unless the beds are deep enough, in which case, you'd definitely need edging of some kind, or it'll all collapse in together.

    If you can post a few photos, that will help with suggestions.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    Fairygirl said:
    I'm a bit confused. Are these random beds in the middle of the space?
    Normally, you'd need some kind of edging to retain the soil too, and presumably you're putting paths in or similar, or are you having grass paths?
    There's no reason why you can't plant on top, but you run the risk of grass coming through, unless the beds are deep enough, in which case, you'd definitely need edging of some kind, or it'll all collapse in together.

    If you can post a few photos, that will help with suggestions.  :)
    Edging? That is very old school  ;)

    A lot of the commercial no-dig producers dropped edged beds for compost laid straight on the the ground with wood chip paths. Cardboard can be placed underneath to suppress weeds.

    The system is crazy productive and also very 'clean' in terms of weeds.


    Some of the names using the system that people can check out


    Joel Salatin

    Jean-Martin Fortier

    Charles Dowding

    Richard Perkins

    I really like Richard, so one of his vids

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u79tiVcj8bY&list=PLvhr6jQKKhPkVga_dl6tDq2xo-pTklbW2&index=34



    In answer to removing the turf, no need to. Check out Charles Dowding on YouTube.

    To date I've mostly been a traditionalist, but next year trialing no dig on this system on an old front lawn. Cardboard down, compost down, wood chips down, grow.
  • This is my place on left its a 1950s ex-council semi in the countryside mine has been cut off rather in this photo but you will see its 5 grass areas it doesn't have the allotment any more this ariel shot is from 1980s. Iam not a 1950s person and want to fill each one of these areas with flowers and shrubs eventually 
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    I'm I right in thinking you are confusing the no dig system for growing vegetables with ordinary gardening? Lost the plot with this one on re-reading your posts.
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    I just don't see the point of not lifting the turf for the area that won't be vegetables. No dig is fine and trendy but can't be the answer to all gardening. After all vegetable crops don't have roots that go too far, as such if you're planting parennials you'd need the depth and removing the competition and interference of the old lawn is common sense. You can always recycle the turf and make some nice compost out of it which would come handy as a mulch later in the year. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    I just don't see the point of not lifting the turf for the area that won't be vegetables. No dig is fine and trendy but can't be the answer to all gardening. After all vegetable crops don't have roots that go too far, as such if you're planting parennials you'd need the depth and removing the competition and interference of the old lawn is common sense. You can always recycle the turf and make some nice compost out of it which would come handy as a mulch later in the year. 
    The veg no dig systems are all about feeding soil over successive years. I should have read more clearly as I see no connection to the systems of no dig and growing flowers or shrubs at all, which would obviously see the removal of the turf, ground prep etc. 

    Signed,

    Confused of Essex.
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