Gardening Tool Site

What are the Important Benefits of Tilling Soil  

There are many benefits of tilling soil before planting to work nitrogen, compost, and phosphorus into the soil to promote health. When you till the ground, the best tool is a cultivator or rototiller to prepare the ground for most gardens. Tilling can be performed in a raised bed using a cultivator and this often-skipped task can yield impressive results. We will explain the importance of tillage and why it should be a routine project before planting.

Five Key Benefits of Tilling Soil

Key Benefit #1 Amending Soil:

Till Soil in a Garden

When you till the ground in the fall, you can add the dying vegetation as decaying organic matter. This will compost naturally in the soil and release essential nutrients. Any vegetable matter will suffice, including leaf litter, grass clippings, dead vegetation, and more. These are useful and free sources of carbon and nitrogen that are essential elements for good soil composition and abundant plant growth.

Key Benefit #2 Warming Soil:

During spring, the soil needs to warm before you can start planting. The importance of tilling the soil is that it can give you a jump start on this process by stimulating aerobic bacteria activity and oxygen levels. This in turn breaks down the organic matter faster, this releases heat and earlier planting is easier.

Key Benefit #3 Aerating the Soil:

When the soil is loosened there is an excellent footing for the freshly germinated roots and oxygen and water can reach them easily. Another key benefit is that runoff is minimized which protects the topsoil and retains water for the plants. Well tilled soil has pockets to secrete water, but excess water can percolate down through the soil and this prevents over watering.

Key Benefit #4 Improved Weed Control:

Tillage can promote weed prevention and control because the weed growth is chopped apart before it develops. When you till in the fall you can reduce the growth of perennial weeds by preventing early growth before the winter dormancy arrives.

Key Benefit #5 Better Pest Control:

Tilling can disrupt the larvae and insects in the soil that tend to emerge in spring to feast on your plants. Many common pests will spend winter lurking in your soil and tilling will kill them before they become a problem.

How to Till Soil in a Garden and Flower Bed:

Tilling a Garden Bed is simple if you have a rototiller and some compost and other nutrients. Follow these three steps in order.

Step One Prepare the Area: Remove the stones, large roots, and weeds. Use a hoe to loosen thicker roots, dense foliage, and rocks and the process will be easier.

Step Two Mark the Area: The borders and rows of the garden bed that you want to till need to be marked out before you begin. Then spread the compost or other nutrients in that designated area and you’re ready to start tilling.

Step Three Till the Soil: Use the rototiller, go slowly, follow the instructions carefully, and turn the soil in a methodical manner. To prepare the seedbed go over the same path twice on the initial row then overlap by a half on each successive pass. Overlapping at 90º on each pass will ensure that you get well tilled soil.

If the ground is very hard, it can take 3-4 passes to break apart the soil fully. If you have a smaller garden you can till in a crosswise pattern with overlapping at a half and then a quarter tiller width.

Tilling a new flower bed from a lawn area is easy if you follow these four simple steps:

  1. Remove the Grass: Take a shovel and remove the surface grass to get to the soil. If you moisten the grass this process is much easier.
  2. Prepare the Soil: Till and turn the soil with a rototiller.
  3. Add Soil Amendments: At this stage, you can add peat moss and other amendments to improve the quality of the soil. Add a one inch thick layer and top this with a second layer of engineered soil to improve the water retention characteristics.
  4. Final Tilling: Make a final pass with the rototiller to work in the amendments and extra soil layer and your flower bed is fully prepared for planting.

Five Tilling Soil Tips

Benefits of tilling soil
  1. Water the Area: When you water the garden or bed a few days before you till the soil you will notice that the task is easier. When you’ve finished tilling, leave the soil to set for 1-2 days, and then make a final tilling pass.
  2. Moderate Slopes: You can till on a moderate slope, but don’t till on steeper slopes where your footing may be harder because this can lead to injury.
  3. Tilling Slopes: When you till a moderate slope, go in an up and down pattern and avoid a terracing approach. When you till vertically you have more room for cultivation and the planting area is maximized. Ensure that the rototiller has a full oil reservoir to maintain the engine when working on slopes.
  4. Add Organic Matter: To prevent soil erosion add sufficient organic matter to improve the moisture retention. Don’t leave wheel marks or footprints on these surfaces.
  5. The First Pass: If you till on a moderate slope make the first pass uphill because the blades will dig deeper than they will on the downhill pass. If there are weeds or the soil is soft you can lift the rototiller handlebars a little as you go uphill. When you till downhill overlap the uphill pass by half the tiller width.

Benefits of Tilling Soil Frequently Asked Question’s

Does tilling remove weeds?

The importance of tillage is noticeable when you need to defend your plants from insects and weeds that can cause damage. Turning the soil bi-annually (spring and fall) will break apart weed roots and disrupt insects that can cause problems later.

How often should you till your garden?

The importance of tilling the soil twice per year should be evident. Till the soil in spring before you plant and after the harvest in fall to make your soil healthier and more productive.

How should soil be tilled to preserve and improve soil quality?

Using a rototiller in a larger garden or a cultivator in smaller areas is a real time saver. Use the techniques discussed in this article, add organic matter and a layer of engineered soil for the best results.

Benefits of Tilling Soil Conclusion 

As you can see there are significant benefits of tilling soil twice per year. The weed growth and insect infestations are minimized and the soil will be healthier. When they start tilling, many keen gardeners are surprised at the improved growth of their flowers, vegetables, and other plants. When you choose a rototiller or cultivator make sure that it’s a good fit for the size of your yard before you make a commitment to buy.