How to Use a Tiller- Few Things to Keep in Mind Before Using this Tool

Are you thinking of nurturing a garden? Maybe you want to create a small kitchen garden where you can grow your own tomatoes, carrots, an assortment of peppers, and maybe even some Zucchini squash? If so, then you might need to learn how to use a tiller.

A tiller is a tool you will use to easily break up the ground and aerate the soil for planting. It's a simple to use machine that loosens and mixes up the dirt for your garden. While there are other ways to do this, using a tiller is by far the most efficient and dependable method. With a tiller, you can easily dig up the fertile soil in your garden and prepare it for your garden plants without breaking too much of a sweat.

What Can a Tiller Be Used for?

One of the most important reasons to dig up and aerate soil (till) is to make it easy for plants to grow well in your garden. Think of it this way - when the soil is good, soft and fertile, your garden plants can easily grow their roots and find the nutrients they need to thrive. However, when the soil is hard, these plants have a harder time spreading their roots and, therefore, won't be as firmly planted in the ground as you would like them to be. That is one of the main reasons why you need a tiller. You can use your tiller to:

Loosen up the Soil

When gardening, hard-packed soil works against you as opposed to working for you. Not only does it hinder plant roots from spreading, but it also makes it difficult for oxygen and water to pass through the soil. This means that you might end up flooding the soil when watering it, and your plants won't be as firmly rooted to the ground to enable their stems to bear the fruits you want. The right garden tiller turns what can be hard-packed soil into loose and porous planting ground.

Help You Reach Fertile and Nutritious Soil

On average, the topsoil is usually stripped of its nutrition due to several factors, including bad pH levels, erosion, bad weather, or overuse. However, just a layer or two underneath what used to be fertile soil is still very good farming land. You just have to get to it. With the right tiller, you can move this soil up to the surface to use it to nurture your crops and give the top barren soil a chance to regenerate underground.

Weed Out Your Garden

Have you ever spent a couple of days pulling out weeds from your garden only to find fresh sprouts the following week? This is, by far, one of the most frustrating experiences in gardening.

The problem is that by pulling out the visible weeds, you are only curing the symptoms but leaving the disease intact. With a good tiller, you will quite literally be uprooting the weeds, thus killing their plant system, and turning them into beneficial mulch in the process. Simply put, the best kind of tiller can help make your gardening life much more enjoyable.

When Should You Use a Tiller?

While you can use a tiller whenever the weather is favorable for gardening, there are a couple of seasons (Autumn and Spring) when using a tiller is ideal. There are, however, a couple of things that you must keep in mind as far as when the best time to use your tiller is:

  • Avoid using your tiller when your land is wet: This is mostly because you will end up with huge clumps of compact soil that will eventually dry up and turn into block-like pieces that are no ideal for gardening.
  • Use your tiller two or three days after it rains: This is the best time to use your tiller as the soil will be moist and soft, making it easy to crumble. However, if it hasn't rained for a while, but you still want to till your land, you can sprinkle the patch with water (heavily) then wait a couple of days before tilling.

What is the Difference Between a Tiller and a Cultivator?

While they do almost the same thing, there is one huge difference between a cultivator and a tiller. A cultivator is typically used to mix up loose soil while the right garden tiller can be used to break as well as mix up hard pieces of ground.

Therefore, if you are thinking of starting a garden in a previously uncultivated piece of land, you wouldn't want to choose a garden cultivator since it doesn't have the right kind of heavy-duty tines to loosen up that hard soil. In this case, you would go for a tiller.

What are the Common Types of Tillers?

While there are motorized tillers that resemble small tractors and rudimentary tillers that look like complicated shovels, what you need to know is that there are primarily three main types of tillers:

Hand Tillers

This is the most simplistic of tillers. It is best used in a small backyard vegetable garden that doesn't require a huge tilling effort. A good example of this is the "Ames" Stand-up Garden Tiller.

Front-Tine Tillers


A rototiller is perhaps the most common type of tiller. They have rotating tines in front of the wheels, thus making them easy to maneuver and use. They use a powerful motor to help you cultivate your land and can dig up soil 20 cm deep or even more depending on the rototiller you choose. The Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator is a good example.

Rear-Tine Tillers

These are very powerful machines that have the tiller behind the wheels. They are much bulkier than the other two and do a much better job of tilling your garden and yard. They are best used on hard and rocky soil. The YARDMAX YT4565 Dual Rotating Rear Tine Tiller is a good example.

As a gardener, buying a reliable tiller would be an advisable move if you want to find ways to help cultivate and make your soil ideal for farming your garden plants.

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