I have been asked a number of times how we cultivate new growing areas. Given we have such a small area to grown on every section is unique and vital to how we continue to advance as a farm.
I have been fortunate to secure a few big tarps that allow me to kill, or almost kill, the grass in certain areas. It is amazing how much easier it is to get a tiller through an area that had a tarp over it compared to one that has not. I highly recommend this method if at all possible. You can even use cardboard if need be. You will need to weight down the edges regardless of what you use. Many a wind has had me out there cleaning up and setting the tarp again. 2x4s are great as you can weight in the middle of it and its length holds more down. Black tarps work much better. Regardless of cover material, I leave it on about 30 days or longer.
This area is 25′ wide and 60′ long.
After I run a tiller through the area, I will usually pile on a bed of mulch, which is a mix of our goat stall, leaves, and straw. Doing this will add nutrients to the area as well as keep back the grass and weeds. In the late winter, I usually till this in and then put a nice layer of just straw over. Or I might plant and then add the straw. Any exposed soil is always a negative and can hinder future growth of plants. With water runoff, wind, etc., the soil can take a beating.
How you get your soil ready is really up to you, but you definitely want to do sooner rather than later and use a good mulch to keep grass at a minimum. If you decide to use the cardboard method and lay your mulch on top of it, which is good as wind can move the cardboard, you can let sit until early March and just till everything. Cardboard and all.
Happy prepping. Planting is only three months away!