So, after determining that my existing soil was contaminate free and building the frames, i needed to snuff out the grass: in the dead of winter. Ideally, i should have done that this past fall, but i was busy doing other projects around the house and back yard.
When i converted the back yard into raised beds (there’s 7 smaller frames), i used double digging to remove the sod and incorporate organic material. Seeing as the front yard was frozen solid (and i was tired of digging grass) i chose to make some lasagna.
First is a layer of overlapping newspaper, at least 6 pages thick laid out over the grass. Place the frame on top of that and fill it with as much organic material as you can get. I did this in 3-4″ layers, alternating between
leaf mulch, half finished compost from my bin, and rabbit droppings/bedding from our little manure machine Ziggy. These layers ensure a balance of nitrogen and carbon so it composts quickly and completely. The worms and microbes do all the work: breaking down, mixing, and loosening the underlying soil. Plus, since any weed seeds are now 8″ under ground, you should get a lot less volunteers come spring time when compared to digging!
I built the frames with a small box on the end for flowers for some color and to attract pollinators. So, if we put perennials in the small boxes, we won’t disturb their roots when digging up crops from the rest of the bed.