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  • FIRST POST
    • sheepy21
    • By sheepy21 13th Apr 19, 9:50 PM
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    sheepy21
    How long to rotavate and rake?
    • #1
    • 13th Apr 19, 9:50 PM
    How long to rotavate and rake? 13th Apr 19 at 9:50 PM
    So weíve decided to revamp our back garden, itís currently a giant weed patch. So weíve decided to rotovate it, rake and level it out and the put down grass seed.
    Iíd like to get it done in 1-2 days and just wondering if thatís realistic?
    Garden is 150m2, so not huge, but a decent sized area to do.
    Rotovate
    Rake out clumps of weed, stones etc
    Level with rake
    Use roller to compact
    Lightly rake
    Sew grass seeds
    Lightly roller
Page 1
    • -taff
    • By -taff 14th Apr 19, 6:04 AM
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    -taff
    • #2
    • 14th Apr 19, 6:04 AM
    • #2
    • 14th Apr 19, 6:04 AM
    depends on what weeds you have, if you have bindweed, marestail [or horsetail ] or dandelions, you're just going to make your problem ten times worse.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 14th Apr 19, 8:28 AM
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    Davesnave
    • #3
    • 14th Apr 19, 8:28 AM
    • #3
    • 14th Apr 19, 8:28 AM
    ....And if you have soil like mine now, raking to develop a fine tilth will be easy, or if you have soil like my old garden ten years ago, it will be extremely hard, or even impossible at certain times.

    There is really no answer to a question like yours. There are too many unknowns, including the skills, energy levels and expectations of those doing the work.

    At our old house, we watched our rather unfit neighbour attempt to do something like you're proposing using a large hired rotovator. It was extremely entertaining for us and we remembered not to do it that way when making our lawn.
    'I've suffered for my music, now it's your turn.' Neil Innes, introducing 'Protest Song.'
    • NigeWick
    • By NigeWick 15th Apr 19, 9:56 AM
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    NigeWick
    • #4
    • 15th Apr 19, 9:56 AM
    • #4
    • 15th Apr 19, 9:56 AM
    I don't dig or rotavate. I have deep beds and use Charles Dowding's no dig methods. Saves energy and time, plus crops are just as good.
    The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 15th Apr 19, 10:27 AM
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    euronorris
    • #5
    • 15th Apr 19, 10:27 AM
    • #5
    • 15th Apr 19, 10:27 AM
    I have learnt from experience that, with dandelions in particular, pulling them out often isn't enough. The roots go so deep and wide, that they just grow back, and quickly. I fear with your chosen method, they would grow back far quicker than the lawn seed would germinate and get itself established.


    Weed killer has been our method of choice (and you have to allow time for that work, and then more time before new grass seed is put down, so 2 days would definitely not cut it), but others may have a different option that would work for you.


    Honestly, at this point, if we owned rather than rented I think I would just do away with the natural lawn and lay down some fake stuff. These houses were built on old marsh land, and it is evident in both the soil and the number and variety of the weeds lol.
    May Grocery challenge: £0/£300
    • sheepy21
    • By sheepy21 16th Apr 19, 5:47 PM
    • 193 Posts
    • 191 Thanks
    sheepy21
    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 5:47 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 5:47 PM
    Hi everyone. We’ve killed off the weeds, so hoping that won’t be an issue after rotavating, I’d read about professional outfits killing the lawn and then rotavating, so I’m hoping it’ll work. If we have weeds come up then I’m planning on removing them by hand as they spring up. We’re only grassing 2/3rds, the rest is going to be a mix or bark and gravel.
    Wish us luck on doing it in the two days

    Meant to add, it’s a mix of weeds, prob half a dozen different types including dandelion and also some moss thrown in.
    Last edited by sheepy21; 16-04-2019 at 5:57 PM.
    • -taff
    • By -taff 16th Apr 19, 10:38 PM
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    -taff
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 10:38 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 10:38 PM
    Again, if it's bindweed or horsetail weedkiller is unlikely to kill them. Nettles, you have to dig out the roots too.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 17th Apr 19, 5:45 AM
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    Davesnave
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 19, 5:45 AM
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 19, 5:45 AM
    The problem I had with the OP was the emphasis on speed. Creating anything good takes time, regardless of the activity. The garden I'm on now has taken 10 years, but it's a long way from being finished!

    There's a sense in which gardens never reach a finished state too, because once a feature is created, it needs maintenance, especially lawns.

    Frankly, it doesn't matter if a job will take two days, or a week. Things like bad weather happen, or other activities come along and change priorities. These days, most people have targets and quotas etc to fulfill at work, so it makes little sense to me, importing time & motion studies into the home environment too.

    While gardening can sometimes involve hard physical work, I think it's essentially about being in touch with nature, exercising creativity, and chilling out from everyday pressures and cares.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 17-04-2019 at 5:48 AM.
    'I've suffered for my music, now it's your turn.' Neil Innes, introducing 'Protest Song.'
    • -taff
    • By -taff 17th Apr 19, 6:59 AM
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    -taff
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 19, 6:59 AM
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 19, 6:59 AM
    Probably, putting down some astro turf would be better for low maintenance. A few friends have it in parts because they have dogs, but equally, I hate mowing my lawn but I'd rather have raised beds than grass so the grass is slowly going.
    I agree re the last paragraph. And for me, it's also eating the produce and preserving it.Not necessarily only my own, but I also used to go foraging, for fruit mostly, to make jams and alcoholic things
    • sheepy21
    • By sheepy21 17th Apr 19, 11:10 AM
    • 193 Posts
    • 191 Thanks
    sheepy21
    The problem I had with the OP was the emphasis on speed. Creating anything good takes time, regardless of the activity. The garden I'm on now has taken 10 years, but it's a long way from being finished!

    There's a sense in which gardens never reach a finished state too, because once a feature is created, it needs maintenance, especially lawns.

    Frankly, it doesn't matter if a job will take two days, or a week. Things like bad weather happen, or other activities come along and change priorities. These days, most people have targets and quotas etc to fulfill at work, so it makes little sense to me, importing time & motion studies into the home environment too.

    While gardening can sometimes involve hard physical work, I think it's essentially about being in touch with nature, exercising creativity, and chilling out from everyday pressures and cares.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Well good for you that you can garden and take your time, I have a special needs child that relies on the back garden, so we have to get it done in a matter of days so the seed can grow. We canít afford to spend weeks prepping and taking our time, itís going to be long enough getting the ground prepped in a couple of days and seed down and to keep him from the back garden while the seeds germinate.
    For us this isnít about connecting with nature and relaxing, itís creating a useable space for our son in as shorter space of time as possible, I donít see that what weíre doing is any different to employing someone to come in and do it
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 17th Apr 19, 1:03 PM
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    Davesnave
    Well good for you that you can garden and take your time, I have a special needs child that relies on the back garden, so we have to get it done in a matter of days so the seed can grow.
    Originally posted by sheepy21
    You didn't explain in your original post the reason for your interest in speed. In order to receive appropriate answers to questions in forums, providing context is key.
    Replies still have relevance though, whether it's you or someone else reading the thread and planning similar work.

    You were told that on heavy, undisturbed soils, using a rotovator can be very difficult and physically demanding. Taff also accurately informed you that that certain weeds are actually increased by rotovating, so we have covered the basics. Let's hope you are as lucky with the ground conditions as you will probably be with the weather this Easter.

    Everyone has constraints of some kind. If yours is time, then turf is faster than seed, but then we come to the constraint of cost too, which applies even more to astro-turf.

    In the context which you now post, I can see one other issue, which is using chipped bark if there are cats around. They'll use it as a toilet, so what may seem a fast-drying, safe surface for your child might have hidden dangers that might not matter so much in an all-adult garden.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 17-04-2019 at 1:05 PM.
    'I've suffered for my music, now it's your turn.' Neil Innes, introducing 'Protest Song.'
    • -taff
    • By -taff 17th Apr 19, 3:58 PM
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    -taff
    I'd go for astro turf then, you can hose it down when it gets dirty, if you spill coke or stuff like that on it, and you never have to worry about cutting it, or feeding it, or weeding it, or patching it..Might be more expensive but possibly cheaper in the long run for time saved and lawn mower costs.
    • sheepy21
    • By sheepy21 22nd Apr 19, 12:56 PM
    • 193 Posts
    • 191 Thanks
    sheepy21
    Just to update! It took three of us three mornings and two of us also doing a little in the afternoon. The rotavating was pretty quick, problems arose mainly with getting the ground level. We had big craters and lots of potholes, but after hours of raking etc we got there in the end and the grass seed went down yesterday
    • Farway
    • By Farway 23rd Apr 19, 8:10 AM
    • 7,149 Posts
    • 13,299 Thanks
    Farway
    Congratulations, and seed down just in time, rain forecast later in the week to water it in for you
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