Using a flathead spade
If you’re in a hurry for root vegetables — or simply enjoy digging — you’ll have to apply a bit of brawn and use a spade, unless you plan to rent a gas-powered sodstripper to remove vegetation.
If you don’t have a flathead spade, now is a good time to get one. Holding the spade upright, push it down with your foot so that it cuts into the lawn.
Now use the spade to cut an outline of your garden bed into the lawn. Then, within the area of the bed, make long cuts the width of the spade, so you have a series of parallel lines giving a series of rows of turf roughly the width of your spade.
Now comes the rewarding part: Get the spade under the edge of one of these rows and hold it nearly horizontal, so that you can use it to chop at the roots of the grass.
Leave as little soil on the turf as you practically can. When you get the knack of this, you’ll be able to chop and roll back your turf like a roll of sod. Of course, the gas-powered sod-stripper does this work in a matter of minutes, but it does make a huge noise, contributes to pollution and has to be picked up and returned to the rental shop.
Keep the turf. Pile it, root-side up, and leave it to decompose for the season. It will turn into a fertile soil you can add back to your garden next year.