Having a fertile soil is a vital requirement for any gardening or planting project. It goes without saying that most plants need rich, loose, and drainable soil in order for them to grow prosperously. So to ensure that your soil is ready to cultivate your plants for planting season, you should use a tiller to prepare it.
What is a tiller?
Tillers are, surprisingly, very simple machines. They are mainly used to dig into the ground for weeding, loosening the soil, and working in amendments. In addition to this, they are also used to break new ground and create planting beds in your planting area.
The central component of a lawn tiller is a rotating metal blade that digs into the soil, called tines. These consist of four blades which are curved in opposing directions, with two facing toward the tiller and the other two pointing away from it.
The purpose of these tines depends on their positioning. The inverted ones keep materials and debris from accumulating on the blade, while the ones facing in an outward direction serves as the heavy cutters of the tiller. Nevertheless, all of these work together to dig into the soil effectively.
How does tiling works?
Evaluating and Preparing the Soil
A tiller’s main purpose is to prep the soil for planting. It goes without saying that good soil is a requirement for plant growth. It must have nutrients and water that plants can absorb. It also needs to have water draining properties, so that excess water drains away from the plant to prevent high moisture levels in plants. In a way, tillers are a great way to work on the needed amendments and preparations that the soil needs.
The first step, however, for successful tilling is understanding what your soil needs. Needless to say, you have to inspect and examine your soil before making adjustments. Simply feel the soil with your hands to determine whether water can permeate it or not. If the soil appears or feels excessively damp or consisting of high clay content, you should consider adding sand or gypsum to balance it out. You can use best tiller for clay soil. This will help the moisture and nutrients move smoothly through the soil. Naturally, doing this will help improve soil aeration and water retention in the soil.
Adding compost is also a good way to improve the condition of your soil. However, this can vary accordingly on your soil type, condition, and requirements. Test the soil to check the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s best to check for the pH level as well. Afterward, feel free to make the necessary adjustments depending on the needs of the plant you are considering to grow.
Green tip: If perhaps your soil appears to be extremely wet or thin, it’s best to construct a raised garden bed instead of the normal ones.
Tilling the Soil
Remember to read the manufacturer’s manual or instructions carefully to familiarize yourself with how your tiller works. It’s also important to wear personal protective equipment or PPE such as eye protection, work shoes or boots, and safety gear. While instructions will definitely vary on the machine and the type of work you will be doing, there are still general steps and tips that you can use like the ones below to understand the entire process better.
Remove any obstacles like rocks, sticks, clumps, and debris. It’s best to pull up thick weeds and vegetation as well. There is a high risk that these may become entangled with your tiller, so remove them. Do not worry about smaller weeds for the equipment can chop it up during the operation.
Set the tiller’s depth. It is advisable to use a shallow setting on hard and compacted soil to prevent your equipment from overexerting itself. Softer ground, on the other hand, can be operated on with a medium setting.
Start the tiller according to the manufacturer’s manual. Engage the tines and slowly make parallel passes across the tilling area. You can choose to overlap straight passes or work on a definite pattern. It’s completely up to you which technique you will adapt.
Once you’ve tilled the entire area, adjust the tiller to the deepest setting and start making perpendicular passes this time. Remember to walk slowly for best results.
After breaking up the ground, it’s time to execute the necessary adjustments mentioned above. Whether you will add sand or compost will definitely vary on your soil condition and requirements.
Continue tilling until the sand or compost is properly mixed with the soil to a depth of 8 inches. Afterward, leave it for a couple of days to set.
After waiting for a few days, you can continue the second part of tilling. Set the tiller at medium depth and make back and forth passes across the area. This helps to aerate the soil and blend the nutrients better.
Make the final preparation by setting your tiller at a deeper setting. Make the final perpendicular passes across the area to level it up.
To yield desirable and satisfactory results, always wait a day or so after it rains so the soil is semi-dry. Do not wait for it to completely dry though. A little moisture in the soil will make it a lot easier to till. Soil that is too wet, on the other hand, will just clump and eventually dry into big hard clods that can be generally difficult to break up.
Remember not to overwork your soil as well. Overworked soil can create a base for soil compaction. This is why the soil is allowed to rest after making adjustments before the final tilling is done.
Lastly, make sure that the area you will be tilling does not have underground utility lines that you can damage. Furthermore, this can also damage the tines of your tiller so be very careful.
For more read “How soon you can plant after tilling?”