How to Use a Garden Tiller

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In a follow up to our recent best electric tiller review article, we thought we’d delve a little deeper on how, when and why you should use this handy tool.

So first we’ll get right to the basics…

What Is Garden Tilling?

Tilling of land implies breaking the soil and loosening the soil particles through turning it over and over using various tools and equipment available. Exactly to what texture the soil, will be is determined by the objective of cultivating.

Fine tilth is ensured for small grains like millet or some types of flowers with small seeds or lawn grasses. Moderate tilth can be used for plants like maize, transplanted flowers among others.

To make work easier when tilling larger pieces of land, one can hire a machine driven equipment, and the work will be done to the required size of soil particles. If just a small piece of land needs to be tilled, one can use an electric tiller or maybe even hand tools.

Why it is important to till your soil

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Tilling the soil has many advantages to the quality of the soil, that in turn leads to healthier flowers and plants after seeding. Some experts recommend minimum tillage maybe once per year to preserve available nutrients. Tilling aerates the soil enabling the soil microorganisms to get enough air and water infiltration too.

The organic matter like dried leaves from the top soil is also mixed with the soil to ensure distribution of nutrients. Till allows compacted soil particles to be broken down before planting to allow the roots to get down enough and support the plant firmly.

Further, it is during the cultivated process that weeds and unwanted matters from a previous cultivation season are removed. Such reduces the pests on the weeds and leaves the field clean.

When to Till Your Soil

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Knowing how to till and why is not enough to attain successful cultivation. Knowing the appropriate timing of tilling is imperative as it affects the crops in a significant way.

During the dry season is when cultivation should occur as when done during the rainy season can lead to the formation of a hardpan.

A hardpan is a thick, impenetrable layer which prevents water filtration to levels below it. It also prevents root penetration to deeper soils which may make a plan lose. Timing should be a few weeks to the rainy season as it’s when the nitrogen flush occurs.

Nitrogen flush allows the soil to tap nitrogen, and the plant can utilize it during the onset of the rains if the farm was ready.

What is a Garden Tiller?


Okay, so you may already know this of course. And if you want details on the best tillers on the market today, head here. However, for the sake of clarity, (and to forgo the need of clicking elsewhere), a garden tiller is a small cultivating tool.

Garden tillers though small are more powerful than cultivators which only work best on existing crop beds. However, tillers can be used in establishing new planting beds or cultivation of a land that has been fallow for a long time.

There are various types of garden tillers, these include:

Rear-tine tiller

From the name, the tines or blades at the back and the engine in front. They are heavier, more powerful and will dig deeper than the front-tine tillers. Can work very well on a lawn grass that will be turned into a farm or flower bed.

Front tine tiller

These are mostly used to till in already established piece of land and between the rows.

Forward rotating tines

The blades move the same direction as the wheels and mostly come with the front tine tiller.

Counter rotating tines

Blades move opposite direction from the wheels. Are very powerful and can be used to break compacted soils.

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Steps on How to Use a Garden Tiller

  • Check and remove all debris and large root remains from the soil.
  • Mark the land you want to till and determine the depth you want.
  • Start tilling through doing it carefully to attain the desired depth
  • Once you till the land, do not keep stepping on it as this compacts it further.


Safety Tips When Using a Tiller

  • Always read the instructions before operating the tiller.
  • Before using the tiller, ensure it well maintained and all rotating parts greased.
  • Wear protective clothing like boots, long pants, gloves and safety glasses.
  • Ensure that children are kept away from the farm as well as the pets as they can be injured.
  • Choose the right tiller for the size of the operation to avoid damage to the tiller.
  • After completion, keep it clean in a dry place and use lubricant on moving parts.

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