Heirloom Expert: Converting Lawn to Garden

There are several ways to expand your garden and convert lawn into crop-producing space, including raised garden beds and plenty of compost.

| Spring 2015

I’ve been inspired by your magazine and I want to expand my vegetable garden. I want to grow more of the interesting heirlooms from your catalog. Right now the garden is 10 feet by 20 feet and I’m hoping to double it. What’s the best way to convert lawn to garden? — David in Illinois

It’s always hard to say which is the best way to do anything in the garden, but I’ll tell you how I like to make the conversion.

Being lazy, I’m always looking for the easiest way to do any job.

First off, always think carefully about how far to expand the garden. If you feel passionate about getting more space and know you’ll be able to keep up with it, then go for it. There’s also nothing wrong with slowly adding a little garden space each season and seeing how it feels.

Whenever gardeners ask me about converting turf to garden, the first thing I say is build up, not down.

Covering the grass with thick layers of newspaper and then 18 inches of compost might seem like a monumental task, but in my opinion is easier in the long run than turning over all that sod.

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