We laid in about ten bags of steer manure and tilled it under quite a few times.
It actually looked pretty good for a bunch of amateurs!
Being impatient, I put in two seven foot rows of tomato seedlings the following weekend. I alternated with marigolds in the hopes that they would work as a natural deterrent to horn worms and other little buggers that might want to chomp on my plants. What I didn't plan for was the snails or slugs that ate the tender leaves off my seedlings overnight, leaving me the itty bitty stems. Too bad for them that we had eggs for breakfast. We roughly crumbled the egg shells and put them around the surviving seedlings. So far there are no more damages. The theory is that the sharpness of the shells don't feel good on the snails/slugs under body so they stay away. Works for me!
I started by digging two trenches about 6" deep. I then laid chicken wire in the trench and walked down the center of it to create a "u-shape" with the chicken wire. The I shoveled the dirt back in essentially making a chicken wire cradle. Anywhere any chicken wire was sticking up I folded it over the towards where the plants were going in and covered it with dirt.
After I completed the super-sized chicken wire baskets to keep the gophers at bay, I put in the seedlings.
This coming weekend, if all goes as planned, we will be putting in the fence so I can start adding my other crops. I need my parameters ya know!