New Lawn Seeding procedure?

I live in Northern CA. When I bought my house in december there was no lawn. it never received watering beside from rain for who knows how many years. Now after the winter here is my weak lawn:
http://www.sfu.ca/~rhui/house/backyard/DSC01033.JPG
I pulled most of this ugly grass, turns out to be an old sod layer with very shallow roots. I then used a shavel to cut into the ground one slice at a time and turned it up. I did every square ft.. not a big area but it took all day. Then I broke it up with a rake and cultivator. Keeping the area very wet and muddy was the only way it seemed to work. I raked it back down to grade. The ground was very fluffy and muddy, while wet, my shoe would sink and making deep imprints.
Then applied the seed with a spreader. This is the seed I used because I am planning on heavy usage: (rye and blue grass mix)
http://www.usahardware.com/inet/shop/item/92240/icn/20-895011/scotts/1192.htm
I then applied a lawn soil mix on top and try to mix the seed and the old soil a bit.
The ground was still wet and overly soggy and I tried to compact it down by stepping on a big metal pan. Helped a little but I ended up avoid stepping on it afterwards.
So then my questions are: 1) Will the ground stiffen up..? Will it be muddy again after the lawn is established during rain and watering?
2) I am not sure if I did the best job with spreading the seed and the raking process.. also I might not have used enough seeds, would it be ok to overseed on top one more time and rake it in lightly? Would too much seed in different depths cause any problems?
3) I did more reading about Rye grass and it seems to be a very strong growing grass, I have a flower bed adjacent to the lawn only divided by a concrete strip. The soil on both sides are the same level. How do I protect the grass from getting over? Can I use a piece of aluminum flashing and drive it into the ground as a divider?
4) I read I should put some straws on top of my bare soil, but is it really necessary for a fast germinating grass seed? Where do I find straws? I didn't see it at Lowes? Alternatives? Should I buy compost and spread it on top?
Thanks in advance
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On 12 Mar 2005 23:18:24 -0800, jeremy snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (jj3000) wrote:

You want the soil to be moist, not soggy nor dry. The grass will reduce the moisture after your lawn becomes established.

Unlikely you can add too much seed.

Anykind of edging will help. You can hand pull grass where you don't want it. It is easiest to pull out the grass after a soaking rain.

Cover and protect the seed with straw for best germination. It will retain moisture and help protect it from the birds. Call your DIY (Lowes, Home Depot, Ace, farmer's co-op, etc.) Do not use hay.
Your seed will also benefit from starter fertilizer. Make sure it's starter fertilizer as this won't burn the seedlings. Lowes has it. Always follow directions on the package.

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Phisherman wrote:

Straw is likely to have many seeds in it. It is better to use peat moss.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8b
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Travis wrote:

Straw doesn't have seeds. Hay has seeds.
Peat is expensive. Spreading it on a lawn is wasting a natural resource that is already being harvested faster than it can be replenished. Peat mixed in soil may prevent moisture from draining away too quickly, but peat spread on top of soil will wick moisture out of the soil. Instead of worrying about seed to soil contact, you'd need to have seed to peat contact. Peat won't stop ground-feeding birds, either.
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Warren H.

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Warren Wrote:

Considering using peat moss? Read these links and you may change you mind. http://www.ondelmarva.com/peat.html http://tinyurl.com/6odtz
New
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Phisherman Wrote:

Hi Jeremy, You've already gotten excellent information from Phisherman, so I'l try not to repeat anything here. Sorry I don't really know how to cu and paste all this stuff with the colors as I'm posting from a forum not a usenet. I do want to address your first statement: "I pulled most of this ugly grass, turns out to be an old sod laye with very shallow roots." The reason the sod had shallow roots was because either the soil wasn' initially prepared properly when it was put down and was hardpan because it wasn't watered deeply enough to get the roots to want to g deeply into the soil or both. The best thing to do for hardpan soil i add compost, lots of it. A 3" or 4" layer mixed in would help to loose the soil, improve texture and water retention.
Also, working the soil when it is so saturated that you are leavin deep footprints will add to the compaction. Working very wet soi makes mud and removes the oxygen from the soil. This will give yo that same hardpan, not allowing the roots to penetrate deeply. Here' a couple of sites that you should find helpful. The second one is fo laying sod, but the prep is the same for seeding. http://tinyurl.com/569jj http://tinyurl.com/4a3nz http://tinyurl.com/69nz3 http://tinyurl.com/5s43j http://tinyurl.com/4vv7z http://tinyurl.com/3sfkp
Newt
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