to till or not to till?

Hello,
The last time I asked a question on this group, I got some good advice and some outrageousness. It was all fun. Let's see if we can do that again.
(I'm not qualified to give much advice on a garden group.)
I've read websites and print articles that say I SHOULD and that I SHOULDN'T till my garden soil. What do you think?
Here are the particulars: The area in question is about 5 feet by 40 feet, rich dark soil with lots of clay, in Zone 6B. I want to plant a wildflower mix (both annuals and perennials). Until recently, the area was covered with lawn grass and weeds. I sprayed a supposedly eco-friendly plant- killer to clear it out. (How can a plant killer be eco-friendly?)
After the recommended waiting period of 7 days, I started to iron-rake the grass away.
How well should I clear the dead grass & weeds?
I want to clear them out, so that the new flower seeds (yet to be planted) can sprout. But the more I disrupt the soil, the less fertile it is. And there's the question of not-quite-dead grass reviving and getting in the way.
Is this one of those areas where "the jury is still out"? If so, then I can do anything and there's a chance I'll be right. Or is there definitely a yes-or-no answer?
Thank you for all answers.
Ted Shoemaker
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Not sure unless you tell us the plant killer product name? Does the the instructions say like wait three weeks before reseeding? By then more weeds grow :)
For such a small area, I would have turned the soil by hand with a shovel and have the grass face down with soil facing upward. The grass will decompose and help the soil beneath. Some clay is good that helps water retention. Then plant the seeds.
Good luck, gardening is an experiment.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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My mistake, brain dead, I know you stated 7 days so ignore that part. It is late need more sleep and i need to sign up for an Internet rehab workshop.
The dead grass may have lingering chemicals or some disease that could effect the other plants so yea remove.
I must make sure I can sleep through the night and early morning so I must turn off my clock radio and unplug TVs. So I can completely miss the insanity of the Royal Wedding.... My niece wanted me to record it, too bad, oh god no, someone help me!
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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The antidote of course is a bottle of Irish whiskey. Jameson would be fine. It will free the body from the tyranny of the mind.
Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw. - Henry David Thoreau
--
- Billy

Bush's 3rd term: Obama plus another elective war
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On Thu, 28 Apr 2011 19:34:21 -0700 (PDT), Ted Shoemaker

If you applied a defolient (WTF did you do such a moronic thing) I'd not recommend planting any seed, especially not mixed wildflower seed for at least a full year... then till... for wildflowers till deep (at least 10").
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On Apr 29, 8:46am, Brooklyn1 <Gravesend1> wrote:

I applied a grass killer. I did such a moronic thing because I wanted to replace a little patch of grass with flowers. Otherwise, I'd have grass growing in the middle of the flower garden.
If you have a better way, please tell.
Ted Shoemaker
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Hmmm... The first posting I think you stated, stated something like stating... PLANT KILLER, now it is grass killer. Big difference in my thinking. See grass is a monocot and flowers are dicots. Most weed killers are designed to kill dicots only and not monocots. Grass killers go after monocots only, single blade plants like grass and not flowers. Toxins like Total Killers and Plant killers kill both dicots and monocots.
Because my initial thinking was it takes a minimum of three weeks for total or plant killers to somewhat go away. The seven day thing kinda had me wondering. So a grass only killer may not harm the flower seeds at all. Make sense?
I also had a good nights sleep and grateful that stupid wedding is over with. Why don't people just go to Vegas and get it over with. Certainly cheaper. Those Royal Lipless wonders.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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g'day ted,
too easy no till of course raised beds the way to go.
http://www.lensgarden.com.au/builds.htm
http://www.lensgarden.com.au/straw_bale_garden.htm
On Thu, 28 Apr 2011 19:34:21 -0700 (PDT), Ted Shoemaker
snipped
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Matthew 25:13 KJV
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither
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very complicated topic.
many wild flowers are not suitable for rich soils. other plants grow better and smother them.
some species need cover of various kinds to get established.
some species can be pests in surrounding formal gardens or lawns (i've got one species introduced via a mix that i've been trying to get rid of for years).
tilling stirs seeds around.
some species of grass and other weeds take more than one round of poison to kill.
grasses and other weeds can come back via roots from the side if there is no barrier. and almost any barrier can fail or be in the way or ...
then there are seeds still left behind that will sprout, or birds, wind, rain, deer, moles, ants, etc can move seeds.
perennials can take several years to get to full size.
overall, i'd guess that it's unlikely you'll get satisfactory results from this. it will take a lot of effort and you'll probably only end up with a few species amid a lot of grass and weeds.
better to step back and actually plan a perennial garden and then once that's started you can open up a few spaces and plant the annuals you want. this way you don't overdo your capacity for weeding and caretaking. 26 sq yards of fertile clay is not something easily kept up with (left bare after one round of poison and within a month of that and getting enough water and it wouldn't even phase it).
i'd select perennials from a local greenhouse that are suitable for the soil and fit the color or other characteristics you want (bee, hummingbird, moth, butterfly, bird, etc). i'd not plant too many to start with, because you don't want to overdo it. as you get more experience you can add more and that helps things go better too. also planting sparse means you leave some spaces available for later annuals or volunteers from the neighbors who have gardens (or even spots for food plants, a little garlic here or chives there can go a long ways. beware chives, they can take over, but they have pretty purple flowers. :) :) :) )...
etc.
songbird
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Your attitude sounds like you have failed already. Tell you what. Until your ready to plant, feed the soil. If you plant, feed the soil. If you don't want weeds; cover with newspaper and mulch, and feed the soil. It's not that hard.
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What do you do when a tomato goes on strike?
You picket.
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In article

<http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/homegarden/2014762441_notill15.htm l>
Should your garden be a no-till zone? Marty Kraft is on a mission to spread the word about no-till gardening. By Edward M. Eveld McClatchy Newspapers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. "All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first warm day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar." Helen Hayes So go ahead and dig your fingers into the soil. But put down the shovel and park the tiller. Here's a different plan that will seem almost sacrilegious to backyard gardeners: Don't till.
Marty Kraft, a Kansas City, Mo., environmentalist, says it's better all around for the soil, your plants, the planet if you completely refrain from that satisfying habit of turning over the soil in the spring.
Make holes in your garden bed only for planting, he says.
"When you till, when you turn the soil over, you expose the organic material, which becomes more vulnerable to bacterial attack," Kraft says. "You're breaking down your organic material and sending it up into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide."
Kraft is on a mission to spread the word about no-till gardening and has launched a website at www.organotill.org. It's going to take some persuasion.
Ben Sharda, executive director of Kansas City Community Gardens, said the organization doesn't teach no-till gardening. He's not opposed to the practice but sees some drawbacks.
"You can have a great garden both ways," Sharda says. "People have been tilling for thousands of years, and it works."
Kraft knows that the prospect of not tilling, although less work, could also be seen as disappointing: "Just looking at that dark earth feels good, it smells good."
But, he says, "You deplete your soil in the process. Some people say tilling makes as much sense as if we threw our cities in a blender every year and rebuilt them."
While fans of garden tilling say that turning over the soil loosens it, which is better for new plants, and breaks the weed and insect cycles, no-tillers say those reasons are overblown.
Tilling can bring buried weed seeds to the surface, making it easier for them to sprout. And mechanically loosening the soil is only temporary, they say. Bad soil will reharden quickly.
Gardeners can make real improvements to their soil by not disturbing it and by layering it with mulch and other organic material, such as compost and manure, Kraft says. Water and microorganisms pull the good stuff down into the soil. It's the natural way soil is improved.
In organic, no-till gardening, Kraft says, weeds are controlled by covering the garden bed with layers of newspaper and maintaining a thick layer of mulch, such as leaves and straw. Don't use landscaping bark, he says.
Sharda worries that no-till can require a lot of attention, more than beginning or even average gardeners may want to devote to their garden bed.
No-tillers particularly like the nexus of creating locally better soil while sequestering carbon, however small the individual impact.
"This is an opportunity for us to have an effect on global warming," Kraft says, "and in the process to learn something about soil biology. You can't help but become a better gardener."
"So many seeds -- so little time."
--
- Billy

Bush's 3rd term: Obama plus another elective war
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