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How-To

How to Start a Vegetable Garden: Removing Sod and Vegetation

Steve Aitken, Danielle Sherry, Gary Junken, and Kate Geruntho Frank

So you’re wondering how to start a vegetable or kitchen garden? Not to worry. Our seven-video series, “How to Start a Vegetable Garden,” will help you get your first veggie venture off to a good start. We’ll cover the basics: choosing a location, preparing the soil, building raised beds, starting your seedlings, and planting your garden.

3. Removing Sod and Vegetation

When you’re starting any kind of garden, you will need to remove the existing vegetation in the area. Some common methods you may read about are digging, tilling, smothering, and applying herbicides. We don’t recommend applying herbicides, especially when you’re starting a vegetable garden. Tilling has its pros and cons (which are outlined in the video), and digging, while simple, is exhausting for most people.

Smothering is probably the safest and easiest way to remove vegetation, though it takes the longest. Simply lay down newspaper where you want your bed to be, cover it with mulch, and wait a season for the newspaper to smother the grass and weeds.

See more videos in this series:

1. Selecting a Site

2. Testing Your Soil

3. Removing Sod and Vegetation
4. Building Raised Beds

5. Starting Seeds Indoors

6. Direct Sowing Vegetable Seeds

7. Planting Out

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