Starting a garden on grass, without digging up the grass.

This method of starting a garden on sod is perfect, as each step builds on the last, so that ultimately, there is hardly a lick of back-breaking work of soil prep involved. This no-dig method of gardening makes it possible for anyone to grow a garden, and give what they grow.

This is all you need to remember to prep your soil:

  • Newspapers kill the grass.
  • Soil holds the newspaper down so that newspapers don’t blow away.
  • The newspapers decompose into the soil, while the plants digging down deeper beneath the newspapers.
  • At the end of the growing season, you’ll have a rich bed of composted soil to start your garden next year.


Here’s the long version:

  1. Spread the soaked wet newspapers (I’ve been saving since January) in layers on the grass that covers my future garden site. This will allows you to see, in 3-d, the scope of the garden design. Does your garden fit aesthetically, into the existing landscape.
  2. Once the newspaper is down, cover with soil and compost. The soil holds the newspaper down so that the wind does not blow the paper away.
  3. The soil prep is done. The seeds and seedlings will be directly planted into this soil that sits on top of the newspaper.
  4. As the newspapers sit on the grass, the grass will be killed and decompose into the soil. The sod does not need to be torn up, saving my hands from blisters and my back from unnecessary digging.
  5. The wet newspapers will eventually decompose under the soil and plants, and will become part of the soil underneath, while the garden continues to thrive on top.
4 comments to “Starting a garden on grass, without digging up the grass.”
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