Preparation of soil for planting

" I live in zone 7. I have just moved to a house that has lots of plants and trees, but it is overgrown because the former owner had Alzheimer's for ten years. I want to pull out most of his plants and replant the strongest of them. The soil is extremely hard and needs amendments. What treatment do I give it so I can replant the yard next spring? I am thinking till, adding amendments, cover with paper, mulch OR till, adding amendments and mulch, and I can plant this fall. HELP!!!"
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

"I know that the ""lasagna"" method that uses newspaper is popular in the South. And it's not bad, if that's what you want to do, especially if you don't have a tiller.

Personally, I just like to add lots and lots of compost, then till it in. If you have a tiller, this is the best way to go. The trick is to get the soil at just the right moisture level. Just barely moist, so that if you squeezed a clod in your hand, it would crumble. If it's too dry, it will be like  rock. If it's too wet, it will be squishy like putty.

Once you get lots of compost tilled in (I usually put down about 6 inches), then you can plant. Your soil will stay nice and workable for many years.  "

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