My no-soil lawn


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When we moved into the new house, the garden was entirely overgrown with ivy, but there was very little soil and there was a valley down the middle. The previous owners had removed all the topsoil to be able to drive their caravans directly through the garage, through the garden and to the back wall (they were carnaval workers) - so they could park all the vehicules.

So, as it was costing so much money to buy topsoil we filled the most of teh valley with soil, ran out of money and leveled the whole garden with coarse grit sand (02 grade river sand).

Now, we have bought bags of dirt from a store and hope to get up to about an inch of dirt. We will then add rolls of turf.

What do you think ?
Is this a crazy idea ?
Will an inch be enough?
Will the sand take the water from the soil above?
Will the grass roots refuse to settle into the sand?

Thanks for your advice.
The turf arrives in the morning :)
 
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It will probably work for a SHORT period of time. Where will the grass roots go? Into a sterile growing medium like river sand? You would have been better off by having free fill dirt and covering that with good soil. And fill dirt is free. Every time a structure is built they must dig out the soil where the foundation of the structure is going to go and that dirt must go somewhere. Many times construction companies have to pay to dump the stuff.
 
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oh dear. How deep does the layer of substrate under the grass mat have to be ? I could go out tomorrow and buy more bags. But we needed 40 bags at 3 USD$ a bag to get it to 1 inch. My little car will be trashed. There is no fill dirt available, well actually there is some under the sand, but the roots wont be going that far I spose. Thanks for your reply though Chuck
 

alp

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Go for freecycle or gumtree or anything for free. Put in an advert. Here, we have a man willing to deliver his top soil with no rocks. All you need to do is to shovel the dirt onto his trailer. Look around, there are always people trying to shift their hoards!
 
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oh dear. How deep does the layer of substrate under the grass mat have to be ? I could go out tomorrow and buy more bags. But we needed 40 bags at 3 USD$ a bag to get it to 1 inch. My little car will be trashed. There is no fill dirt available, well actually there is some under the sand, but the roots wont be going that far I spose. Thanks for your reply though Chuck
Well, around here in many many places it is solid bed rock at 4 inches and grass does not great but OK. It is also extremely hot here. On a nice lawn grass roots will go at least a foot, maybe more depending on the type of lawn grass. You will have to get a type of grass that does not need much water too. An inch of soil will dry out extremely fast and when the water hits that sand it really goes away quickly. You don't need good soil. Anything is better then sand. Follow @alp advice and spend time looking instead of spending a fortune on bagged dirt. Go to construction sites, put an add in the paper, go to Craigs List, anything. You can fix bad dirt fairly cheaply.
 
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OK Chuck thanks
I went to the store and got a lot of bags of soil. Now I have 32 bags of 40Litres to cover a space of 40 meters. I will go out and get more to try to make it as deep as possible.
To make matters worse, it has gone from 25°C and sunny yesterday to tipping rain today. There's supposed to be no rain this afternoon (according to the met office), but it is now 1pm and it is still bucketing down. The say a few sparce showers tomorrow, but otherwise sunny. I hope the rolls of turf don't go bad in the meantime.
PS wish i'd found this forum before I did all the sand :-(
 
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I am suprised no one has mentioned the long term effects of simply spraying sugar water. In this case there would be a positive effect.
 
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Sugar water? Hmm, what is that ? Just sugar diluted in water? Would you know the proportions by any chance? thank you
 
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What you will be doing is feeding bacteria. Not only will they die and start providing a bio mass, Fungi will move in to eat them also, and their hyphae- roots - will extend downward to water which will be drawn up. You will be expected to provide amino acids and micronutrients of course, as this is what they build their tiny bodies out of, but thats not hard because amino acids are what make up proteins and something like soybean meal is cheap and roughly 50% protein or slightly less. Many "organic" fertilizers are like that, in that they are high protein. Blood meal for example. Multiply the nitrogen count by 5 or 6 and you have a pretty good handle on the protein involved.

A couple of tablespoons of molasses in a gallon will start to make a fertile mess of things if you can remember to spray consistently. You will probably back off that after a year.

Just remember, as you yourself can live off protein and carbohydrates, so to can a lot of things and some you will not care for, so you can kill them off later after you create a breathing ecology in your soil.
 
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