,, I live in Tx and have to deal with clay as well,, and there are a lot
of rocks deep in the soil
I don't know .. I can only tell you my experience that was and still is successful Just
at the break of spring
or right after the last frost of the year, the area I'm going to use Like Tamara said Remove the top layer taking all grass and weeds
out,,( I used a wide shovel and just lifted . IT took a while but it's worth it,! Then till the area before you do anything to loosen it up.. then I took a wheel barrow and put two buckets of peat, two buckets of Compost( if you don't make your own,, purchase a humas-compost mix a couple of 40 lbs bags or more depending on the spread of area your planting in) and a couple of buckets of sheep manure composted or cow manure composted ( both can be purchased at a feed and grain store) I prefer sheep manure) mix that up pretty good and place in the area your going to till,, repeat the mixture ratio until the entire area is covered,, and Till in minimum 12 inches ~ 18 inches is better tho,, let it sit a week and till again lightly,, then sow seeds
,, The two weeks enables the soil mix to " blend" per say ..
As far as the rocks go I left a lot of mine in,,( only because I got exhausted picking them out,
.. I found it helped with drainage after all,, :wink:
Oppppppppps I just read Back and Saw how shallow the soil is before you hit big plymouth rocks,, soooo you can't till down 12 - 18 inches,, However I still recommend the additives above,, and Yes till the soil as far down as you can to loosen it,, Before amending the additives,, The richer the soil the better the growth!!
In that case yes I would Place Rail ties to make a raised bed you want at least 18 inches of good admended soil..
Ohhhh and IF your area is really large then just pour out the bags of admendments alternating them ( Probably easier than mixing in a wheelbarrow anyway,,,
Personally I don't use a quality
top soil untill the seeds
have sprouted and have developed its first set of "true" leaves,, then I will put top soil ( (Be careful purchasing top soil,, some are clumpy and clayish,, it's worth the $$ to get a quality top soil) and spread it around the seedlings
Keep in mind this method has brought success to me,, after trial and errors,, and using different methods, I just tried this way on my own,, and it proved successful,,
I'm sure someone else will come along and give you their own personal way of admending soil.. We all have the same basic fundemental,, tho the method to our maddness may be slight in variation,,
I would have to say the most important is to..
#1.Clean the area,,( removing grass and weeds
#2, Admend the soil with humas compost or your own compost and
sheep or cow manure( <-aged and composted)
#3. Have your son By your side and working with you while doing it all,, Young people take pride in planting seeds
and watching it grow and eating their success veggies,,
#4, If you don't make your own compost You can learn how in our organic gardening forum,, so by spring
you'll have your own,, to admend in your garden,,! making your own compost is the Best additive to any garden!!