Amendment+rototill sequence

Is there a correct sequence to the above? ie: Is it best to apply the amend. then roto in ,or vice-versa, or does it really matter?
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On Mon, 26 Apr 2004 15:12:39 +0000, lib wrote:

Depends on the condition of the soil you are starting with. If the area is still in sod, then "till, amend, till" is probably in order. If it is an existing garden plot, then "amend, till" would probably work just fine. Then too, you could till, plant, mulch and wait until fall to till the remaining mulch in.
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Well .. depends on what you're rototilling. Unless you want to make a better lawn, never rototill sod, it just breaks up the grass rhizomes and distributes them and makes more grass. :(
I have learned the above.. several times .. because I'm stubborn and slow! LOL I figured I could somehow manage to rake them all out. LOL Dumb girl that I am! LOL Best way to take a minor quack grass problem and make it a huge problem!
I'd suggest removing any sod. Removing sod without the right tools can be done, but it's tedious..but by whatever method you can, get to a point where you can slip the blade of your shovel or an old very heavy knife or machete under the grass in its root zone and slice it off the remaining soil. It's almost like "skinning" the ground if the grass was its hide. You could dig out the width of the shovel blade out .. far enough so you can see that dividing line between green grass shoot, then the root zone of the grass, and ..in a clean slice straight down in well moistened.. but not wet soil.. the smoother texture of the soil below the immediate root zone of the grass.
The sod you'd buy to put in a lawn has little ..and in some cases NO soil in it .. because they've washed it all out., so you don't have to cut down too far.. just far enough to remove any chance of leaving crowns or rhizomes to resprout.
Once you have the sod loose stack it up somewhere out of the way grass side down, water it and then cover it with black plastic so it cannot get any light, in a few months you'll have lovely loam.
After you've "skinned" your garden plot, you can scatter compost, manure, sand whatever you feel or a soil test shows you need.. over the soil surface.. and till it in as you loosen the soil.
There is a school of thought that says tilling disturbs the fertile zone where the bacteria lives and disperses it throughout the soil where it cannot survive, and that by tilling you reduce the fertility, and that it takes quite some time (no idea how long as it's been a long time since I read the article) for the bacteria to colonize that top layer again.
However I know that sometimes some ground needs help because it's too hard, compacted, and there is that need for organic matter that is easier distributed by tilling!
If you had time.. which you don't at this point .. and didn't want to slice sod, you could solarize the area by watering well, covering it with 4mil clear plastic so no further water could reach it and plants will grow up quickly, new plants sprout up from seed, and they suck water up from the soil and condensation at night puts a little back, but soon, they exhaust the moisture and the sun shining through that plastic soon cooks 'em and dries them out. Thing is, just because grass looks dead on the surface, those roots can remain alive through some pretty nasty conditions so you have to let them stay under there for longer than you'd think. Depending on where you live, weather etc. Some folks do this in the fall and leave it until the next year, or do it early in the year and take it off in late summer and remove the dead organic material to the compost bin and raking it down to the ground and look for anything that might remain alive.. then water it and loosen the soil with a spading fork but not turn it. Or if you want to till then that would be the time to do it. Plant a cover crop of field peas, or annual rye...until spring..then till it under and leave it to rot before planting. Or you could add compost and plant a fall crop of peas to eat, or onion seed to grow into sets to over winter. And I'm rambling, but the point is there are many ways to approach the problem, there are not hard and fast rules, but .but the one thing that holds true.. get rid of the grass and any roots that would like being cut up so it could grow into a zillion more plants.. ohhhh like horseradish, comfrey.. those are the first 2 that jump into my mind! ;-)
Good gardening wishes whatever you choose to do!
Janice
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