Comparing Sod Prices & Amending Rocky Soil

Question:

How would I go about comparing the price of sod? It concussing trying to decide between the square feet and roll prices. I'm looking to install a small area of sod, about 40 square feet.

Answer:

  • The variable you need to compare the two is the size of the roll. There is no industry standard, so vary depending on the grower. So, a $4.98 roll of sod that's four feet long by two feet wide is 8 square feet or 62.2 cents per square feet. Using the same example, sod at .50 a square feet would sell for $4.00 per roll.

Question:

 I'm trying to turn a small six-foot by ten-foot plot into a garden. The soil is hard and full of rocks. I hate to buy a tiller, so what should I use? Also, paint has been spilled in one area. How would I go about cleaning up the mess?   

Answer:

  • For a sixty square feet (six feet by ten feet) space, I wouldn't buy a tiller either; instead, I'd consider renting one. Check the Yellow Pages or go on line, you should be able to find a rental shop in your area.
  • But first, I'd invest in a heavy-duty shovel and remove the rocks. I'd pre-moisten the soil but don't turn it into mud a week before beginning and then remove as many rocks as you can.
  • The soil contaminated with paint should be scooped out and disposed of it. This is the hardest part of the task as it is all manual labor, but it doesn't all have to be completed in one day.
  • Once you removed the majority of the rocks, you're ready to add the soil amendments, and it's at this point that I'd consider renting the tiller to blend the material into the soil. I'd make several passes over the area mixing a portion of the amendment/organic matter each time. It's very similar to folding the ingredients of a cake batter.
    • You can use homemade compost or any of the blended organic mixes from your favorite garden center and a limited amount of animal manure.
    • You should be very generous, as the soil needs to be replenished, but it will not be necessary to take a second mortgage on your home to fund it.
    • Four or five bags of amendments and a bag of manure should be sufficient. Also, add four to five pounds of organic fertilizer. The additional microbes that your soil is missing. The microbes break down the inorganic and organic compounds in the soil, making the nutrients available to the plants. Now, you are ready to plant.
  •  The nursery professional at your favorite garden center is an excellent resource. If you decide to plant edibles, it's recommended that you continue to add new amendments with each new planting to replenished those nutrients used up by the harvested crops.