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.
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!
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