Preparing an overgrown garden for planting is not as hard as it seems. As I wrote in a previous article, I decided not to plant a garden this year. However, I did not want to leave the garden unplanted until next year. My plan was to plant a cover crop this past spring.
Unfortunately, I was unable to get a cover crop planted for various reasons. Now my garden is simply an overgrown bed of grass and other volunteer plants. I need a way to get rid of all the grass and plants and ready the bed for planting a cover crop in the fall.
A couple thoughts came to mind how to do this. I thought of using a rototiller to turn in the soil, but really don’t like to do that unless absolutely necessary due to the negative impact to the soil. I considered turning the garden over by hand. I’ve done that before and I’d like to avoid doing that again, it isn’t easy. Then on “The Survival Podcast”, a podcast I listen to regularly, there was a discussion centered around doing exactly what I needed to do, prepare an overgrown garden for replanting. The recommendation was to cover the area with clear plastic and basically bake the grass and unwanted plants.
To do this all you need to do is put down the plastic over the area you want and then let nature do the rest. The sun will shine through the plastic and bake the ground. The plastic helps keep the heat in. Do not to use black plastic as it does not let the sun shine through and heat the ground as much.
Once the plastic is down, the grass and plants are killed off in about 3 – 4 weeks. At this point scratch in a cover crop or simply cover the area with mulch until it can be planted. Keep the cover crop watered for about a week to allow the seeds to sprout. The nice thing about a cover crop, if you choose the right one, you can have a living mulch and simply plant right into it.
That is it, it is as easy as that. I chose a 2 mil plastic which is a bit more durable. I saw painters plastic but that is only .75 mil and I have to believe that will rip much too easy.
If you are preparing an overgrown garden for planting give this a try. It is not difficult and supposed to be quite effective. I’ll let you know how it works out for me.