Ok, I am planning on removing the dirt (95% bank run) and replacing it with a good top soil mixed with my own organic compost. Why you ask? Because the dirt is just terrible there and it's opposite my good grass(on the other side of my driveway) which does have fairly good soil. I can't get the grass there to look good and it will take to long to improve that area. It's not to big and I have the equipment to do it so....
My question is. I'm going to use a good mix of blue and tall fescue seeds. Coming from the chemical approach, I would normally throw some starter fert down and cover it with straw, not hay due to the weed seeds. Straw however takes a while to break down. Now that I'm 100% organic is the straw still the best bet? Or should I cover the seed with a fine layer of screened compost? It's irrigated , if that matters. Should I fertilize with some organic fert?
hay and straw can both contain seeds. Hay is green plants that are cut and dried so they still look green. Hay is edible to ruminants (cows, horses, etc.). Straw is plant material that has dried on its own and usually turned yellow or brown. Most straw comes from a crop where the seeds were harvested and the stalks were left behind. The stalks are the straw. But there are usually still some seeds in there. Using hay as a mulch generally adds a fertilizer factor too. Straw does not. In fact, straw will sometimes make soil less fertile for a while.
I would use a pure tall fescue seed.
I would not add any fertilizer to fertile soil - that could kill your new baby grasses.
Throwing down seed on your new soil and covering with a bit of fluffed straw makes damn good sense. Germinating seeds tend to not like really rich soil - so the straw helps a bit with tying up some of the N for the first few weeks - giving the baby grasses a chance to get started. The straw will return that N a few weeks/months later as the grass really needs it. The straw also provides a mulch layer to protect the seeds and the soil. All good.
You would get much better germination if you were to rake the seed in a little bit and then press the soil so that there is good see-to-soil contact.
Make sure your straw is organic straw. Call around a bit.