Hot Topics: Reviving a Kitchen Garden

backyard kitchen vegetable garden

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A kitchen garden can spice up your cooking and enhance the taste of your food. If you bought a home with a kitchen garden, don't just let it die! These gardeners have advice for reviving a messy kitchen garden so that it will start bearing delicious fruits and vegetable again.

Original Post: Best Way to Revive a Kitchen Garden

krishmunn Member

Our house has a fairly large (about 300 sq ft) ill-maintained kitchen garden. Don't know when the previous owner last maintained it, but we haven't had time to do anything ever since we moved in two years back.

The plot is now covered with lots of vines, broad-leaf weeds, and tons of leaves (there are trees nearby). I have started cleaning it— have cut the rusted and broken fence and have cleaned about half of the area. The soil is very good but I am thinking instead of cleaning, can we lay a landscaping fabric on the leaf and vines, cover with fresh soil, and start my new garden? How much soil should I use?

Highlights from the Thread

CarbideTipped Forum Topic Moderator

You'd be way better off removing all the vines and plant matter. And then, unless the soil is very loose, I'd till it or at least turn it over.

Another option is to cover it with black plastic or multiple layers of newspaper (wetted down good), and leave for a couple of months to kill all the vines and plants. Then remove the plastic/newspaper and till the dead remains into the soil.

It's a lot of work, but once it's done, it's just a matter of keeping up with it.

It's a good idea to have the soil tested when starting a new garden so you know where you stand on pH and essential nutrients. Good luck with your garden!

XSleeper Member

It would be easier to clear what you can and roto-till the existing soil three or four times. The leaves are good for the soil. I would probably mow it as short as possible then till it.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Covering up the vines/weeds just postpones then coming back up. Not sure how well landscape cloth would work under a vegetable garden. Sooner or later you'd have to till the garden, which would shred and bring pieces of the cloth to the surface. If you intend to use the garden this year, I'd remove what vegetation I could and then till.

cwbuff Member

300 sq ft is not a huge undertaking. I would use a garden fork to spade and pull up all the weeds and vines. Once you get that done, add amendments (fertilizer, compost etc.) depending on your soil, and rototill or spade by hand to 8"-10".

If you want to use landscape fabric, the time is once the beds are spaded and raked smooth. It will help retain moisture and control weeds. That's also a good time to add irrigation.

After your seeds and started plants are in then add a good mulch layer. I use 3"-4" of salt marsh hay.