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I just completed two large retaining walls, each about 25' x 20' and filled them with topsoil. I knew I could not do any serious garden planting before winter hits here in upstate NY zone 5, but a friend suggests I put down winter rye just to get roots in the dirt and organic activity going.

Isn't it better to leave these large topsoil areas bare until Spring? Won't planting grass make adding a garden more difficult?

Ps I know nothing about whether people plant flowers and such in grassy areas.
 

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Naildriver
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I plant winter rye in my garden plot each year as the food producing plants begin to wane. It keeps the soil intact, prevents erosion, and gives deer something to chew on in the winter. Just till it in come spring and do your planting.
 

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@arcticranger nice to meet you!

I concur with @chandler48 and add that it's always a good thing to add organic material to your soil.

Though I'm in California now, I'm from Ohio, down the lake a ways from you.

Keep in mind that annual rye only lives a short time, and won't pop up again like some grasses do. Don't do that, for example, with perennial grasses like bluegrass.
 

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Gonna harp on with a public service message:

You soil grows your garden, and you grow your soil. Do all you can to improve it, all the time. The ancient Egyptians would agree with that one!
 
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