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  1. #1
    Seahorse's Avatar
    Seahorse is offline In these shoes?
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    Default Is there a 'best way' to dig up turf?

    I want to reorganise my garden a bit for the next growing season, so I'm digging up some ground that has been lawn since the year dot. It's hard work! I'm not exactly Kate Moss but I'm quite petite and even jumping on the spade with both feet isn't cutting into the ground properly some of the time (and who knows what I look like to the neighbours!? ).

    The spade is quite new and fairly sharp, so I don't think a different one would make much difference. Should I try again after rain? Or will that just mean the ground is even heavier? Is there a special technique? Any prep work that would make it easier?

    Any help gratefully recieved!

    Claire

  2. #2
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    We hired a turf stripper from the local hire shop!

    It's a petrol driven beast that takes about 1 to 2 inches of turf away for you as you push it along. They are heavy, but I managed to do it... see below for pics of turf stripping our veg beds:







    They're not too expensive to hire, but you'd need a large car of van to bring it home in.

  3. #3
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    Snadger is online now Gardening Guru
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    Depending on how much turf you have to lift either a turf lifting iron or a motorised turf stripper could be used.

    A turf lifting iron has a heart shaped blade that is sharpened on all edges and the shaft is stepped so you dont have to bend so much.

    If its lawn turf why dont you just dig it in? Dig the soil and place the clod upside down in the bottom of the trench. That way you are putting the grass and thatch to good use as a water resevoir under the soil and adding organic matter to boot!
    My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
    to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)
    Diversify & prosper!


  4. #4
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    If the ground is so compacted that seahorse can't get a spade into it, it may be an idea to use a rotavator to break up the ground? Just a thought.

  5. #5
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    The turf stripper looks very useful! However, it's a relatively small area (about 12m square) so I don't really want to spend a lot of money. There's a junk shop near me that often has weird old garden tools, so I shall definitely check out whether he has a turf lifting iron going cheap.

    Snadger - it's actually breaking the surface that's hardest, so digging it in wouldn't be any easier would it? (unless I'm missing a really obvious point - it's been known, lol!). I'm also a bit worried that all the dandelions and stuff in it would come back to haunt me!

    Claire

  6. #6
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    If the ground is really dry, please wait a bit until you have some rain - it will make it much easier. What sort of soil is under the turf? Heavy clay or lighter sandy stuff. Are you clearing a huge area or just beds? All these questions do make a difference to the best answers.

  7. #7
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    If you're not too worried about the look of it for a bit, and as you say it's a relatively small area try covering it with old carpet or heavy cardboard. This will kill off the topgrowth - I've used this method on the lottie with couchgrass and after it's been covered for a few months it's relatively easy to dig. The covering kills off the topgrowth and seems to draw the moisture up so it's easier to dig.

  8. #8
    Seahorse's Avatar
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    Posting at the same time rustylady.

    I'm very much an amateur but the soil looks lovely to me - nice and dark and crumbly.

    Claire

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