Spring Rototilling Tips

Spring Rototilling Tips

How to Till a Garden in Springtime

Dale, the Power Equipment Expert
Power Equipment Expert

Are you tired of paying for fruits and vegetables? Would you like to revamp your flower bed? Spring tilling with the right rototiller can help make any garden a success while saving you the time and effort of manual tilling.

How to Rototill a Garden

Breaking ground and cultivating soil in the spring will loosen and enrich your garden so that your new plants' roots have what they need to thrive.

Before rototilling, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure the soil isn't too cold. It should be at least 50 degrees for optimal tilling.
  • Remove lawn debris, like sticks and stones, from the tilling area to avoid damaging the rototiller. 
  • Slightly moisturize the soil before tilling it. The water will make the soil easier to churn.
  • Don't just till a straight line and call it a day because you will have missed the center. Always till it again at a 45 degree angle to get all the soil turned.

Whether you're starting a new garden from scratch or revitalizing an existing garden plot, these springtime tilling tips will get you growing in no time.


Creating a New Garden 

mixing amendmentsA new garden is a space that's full of potential, and using a tiller to establish one can ensure that the spot you've chosen lives up to your dreams.

Before digging your new plot, be mindful of how much sun it receives. Many plants are full-sun plants that require six to eight hours of sunlight each day. Some, however, are partial sun or shade plants that need much less. Look up the daylight requirements for the plants you want to grow, and choose your spot accordingly.

To clear an in-ground space of any grass, you can cover it with newspaper topped with a layer of compost in autumn the year before you'd like to plant. However, if spring has already arrived and the gardening bug has bitten, you can remove grass immediately with a shovel or garden tiller.

In either case, a tiller will help you break up the grass that's there so that you have a clean plot of dirt as your blank canvas. Be careful while you're tilling; you might turn up items that you don't want in your garden because of the ways they not only restrict root growth but also damage your tiller's tines:

  • Bottle caps
  • Coins
  • Large rocks

Afterward, till a mix of about two-thirds topsoil to one-third compost into your garden plot to create a heathy growing medium.

The best equipment for the job: starting a new garden means that you'll be tilling ground that might never have been disturbed. Therefore, your best choice will be a heavy-duty garden tiller.

  • Rear tine tillers are the most powerful and most efficient kind for creating new gardens. They're also great for working amendments into clay soil or annually breaking up hard soil.
  • Front tine tillers can break up and loosen soil while also stirring in topsoil and compost. Additionally, they're easier to maneuver in tight spaces than rear tine tillers. 


Refreshing an Existing Garden

Tilling a GardenIf you already have a garden plot in place, you're well on your way to a season's worth of incredible flowers and fresh vegetables. But that doesn't mean it's time to rest! Your tilling equipment still can help you make sure your garden is ready for the coming year.

If you planted a cover crop to protect your soil over the winter, early spring will be the time to till the dry mass in. Churn the remnants of your cover crops into your soil so that they'll continue to add nitrogen as they decay.

Then, refine your soil's composition even further by mixing in any amendments that a soil test suggests might be beneficial:

  • Compost
  • Lime
  • Gypsum
  • Fertilizer mix
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand

The best equipment for the job: you won't have to dig new ground to maintain your garden, so a lightweight tool that's easy to use will be the right choice.

  • Cultivators aren't ideal for breaking into compacted dirt at the beginning of the season, but they are the lightest and most maneuverable tools for stirring and blending loose garden soil.
  • Front tine tillers are used more for breaking up light soil than for cultivating, but they are capable of cultivation if you have a large garden or hard, rocky soil that requires more power.

The right equipment can make any garden, new or established, a sweet sight in springtime.


NEXT: How to Safely Operate a Rototiller or Cultivator

Dale, the Power Equipment Expert
Power Equipment Expert
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