I recently moved into a house with a yard, and am eager to start getting a garden started. The ground here isn't really clay, but it's not really dirt that I would want to use for gardening. It's really heavy and compact, and there are gravel-like rocks everywhere that I'm going to want to pick out.
I was thinking about tilling the ground, then spending a few weekends picking out the rocks, then mixing in some compost and topsoil to turn it into some nice garden soil. I might also add a border around it, possibly raising it a bit. Then in the spring I could maybe add more soil then plant everything as early as possible for early vegetables.
So I looked up advice on tilling gardens, and I read advice saying two different things.
That it's not a good idea to till the garden in the fall, because the snow would compact the soil.
(I do live in southern Illinois, where we don't really get much for snow, maybe a couple inches through January. So maybe that isn't something I have to worry about?)
That it is a good idea to till the garden in the fall, because it gives the soil time to prepare the nutrients from the added compost.
Is there a significant benefit over doing it one way or the other? Should I do it now so the compost has time to spread nutrients into the soil? Or is it better to leave it as it is until spring, so the soil isn't exposed over the winter?