Soil and Compost forum: Soil prep for next year

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Aug 26, 2017 5:38 PM CST
So I just moved to the Pittsburgh area and am starting 2 gardens in my yard. I've turned over the soil(seems like mostly clay)with a shovel in the one I'm planting flowers. I plan on putting mulch, manure, top soil, and some grass clippings in and then till it all up before winter.
Any advice, suggestions or recommendations on what else to do before I plant some bulbs this fall? I plan on doing the same for the veggie garden.

Thumb of 2017-08-26/GoonerDave/932296

Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Aug 30, 2017 2:35 PM CST
Dave - leave your mulch on top of your beds. Don't till it in. Might be a good idea to have your soil tested so you can plan out any soil amendments your might need.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Aug 30, 2017 9:01 PM CST
Do as Cindy said about the mulch but till the rest in for the bulbs.
For the veggies, depending on how fresh you manure is, I often put the manure on the ground , turn it over by hand and then till it in in the spring.

Sep 3, 2017 3:55 PM CST
Ok so I made 4 passes with the tiller and broke the soil up even more but still pretty bad. I looked into a soil test and going to do that soon. Do you think if I till it after it's a bit wet it might break up the chunks even more? I'm going to buy some good topsoil and till that in to it next I think.

Thumb of 2017-09-03/GoonerDave/a7319a

Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Sep 3, 2017 8:28 PM CST
What type of tiller?
How fast did you till?

Tilling when the soil is more moist should make a difference but go slowly, very slowing and see if that does not break it up more.
How hard is it to break up one of those chunks by hand?

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