The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

By Caron

Merseyside, United Kingdom Gb

Hello..I am a complete novice at gardening, having only done container gardening. My mum is no longer able to do her garden so I have taken it on, but it needs to be low maintenance so decided that some areas will have to be grass. Sounds like a silly question but how do I get the soil to be fine enough for grass seeds. I have used a spade to dig one area and then used the fork but it is still a bit lumpy, I know I will need to rake but will this do it...finding it really hard work so am only doing one area at a time! Would be grateful for any advice.Thanks



Actually, its much easier to dig using the fork first, then break up the clods and lumps by chopping into them with a spade, if that's what you have to do, then raking over to remove large pebbles, etc. Often those sort of clods and lumps means the soil's either too dry, or is heavy clay. If you want to grow from seed, you need to get it prepared and sow the seed a.s.a.p because its very slow to germinate during October - which is actually the best month for laying turf, provided the ground is not waterlogged.
Any chance you could do turf instead?

22 Sep, 2011


Thanks for the reply
I would love to turf but cash is tight so seeding is the only option. I had to use a spade first as I couldn't get the fork in more than a few inches the soil was really compacted, I don't think my mum ever dug it over, just made small holes and put in any plants, it was really higgledy piggledy planting and plenty of weeds and bramble type things. I will be asking advice on other things in time lawns etc. Anyway will have a go again with the spade as advised. Read that digging is very good at helping to keep fit...can't wait!

22 Sep, 2011


Caron, you could hire a small rotovater at a reasonable price to get the ground down to a fine tilth. If you couldn't manage it yourself perhaps someone could give you a hand.

22 Sep, 2011


Yes it is hard work if the garden is compacted like yours but you have done nothing wrong so far. To get it to a fine tilth just rake and rake after you have broken down the lumps , keep picking out the stones and rake again till that area is done.

Then move on to the next bit if you are doing it in small stages as you describe.

After you have sown the seed cover it all in a fine layer of compost to hide from the birds who will eat it all otherwise.

And you must keep it well watered. If it dries out it wont germinate.

22 Sep, 2011


Thanks for the advice and I really be asking for quite a bit of advice in the future, some will probably be stupid questions but I really know nothing about gardening. My mum was watching me digging today and asked about the stones in the soil I told her they were good for drainage! I have a lot to learn!

22 Sep, 2011


Caron unless you want a bowling green you can save yourself some work.Dig the ground over roughly removing any large stones weeds etc ,tread the soil over and then rake some sharp sand over to fill any small gaps and then seed.The seed wants to grow and will have no trouble rooting through sand or all but the most compacted soil.

22 Sep, 2011


Thanks and I certainly don't want a bowling green, although I have to say I bought a lawnmower, one of those cylinder type ones and having mowed the lawns a few times the difference is amazing, they are looking greener and can't notice the weeds that were growing so much...and they have the stripes!

22 Sep, 2011


Regular mowing does work wonders - my father in law turned a rough, hummocky, weed/rough grass covered small field into an acceptably flat, neatly grassed practice golf range area just by mowing over a period of 18 months...

23 Sep, 2011


The gardening is going well. I had started raking another area that I have dug yesterday, went in to get a drink and when I came out there was a Robin hopping round the raked area, assume it was picking up insects. It went behind some shrubs so I decided to do the front lawn so I wouldn't disturb it. First time I have seen a Robin, except on tv, it was hard going yesterday especially with the heat but seeing the Robin it is worth it!

2 Oct, 2011


Robins often appear when you're digging - I've had them jump in the hole I've made before I've even finished digging it and got the plant in it...

2 Oct, 2011

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?