How to Till a Garden with a Tiller (For a Perfect Tillage)

Have you ever wondered how to till a garden with a tiller? A tiller does a good job of preparing a garden soil for planting. It breaks compacted soil and clumps. It also mixes soil with organic matter and other amendments. Proper tilling will make the soil light, fine and aerated to promote the growth of plant roots. 

The size of your garden will determine the kind of tiller you use. Smaller tine tillers can handle gardens. You cannot expect to use a large manual rototiller on a small garden. Whenever you can use a tiller to till your garden, here is how to go about it.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Hand gloves
  • Earplugs
  • A tiller
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Before you can handle a tiller, wear safety equipment and the right clothing. Gloves will help to minimize the vibration produced by the tool’s engine. Eye goggles will protect your eyes from flying debris was thrown by the tiller. Boots, on the other hand, will protect your feet from any sharp object that you may encounter on the ground. Wear earplugs to protect you from deafening roar of the device’s engine. 

Another aspect of preparation involves clearing the garden till. You should remove any rocks, boulders, tree stumps and other debris before you start tilling. Sod and weeds can interfere with the tines of a small tiller of you are using a tine tiller. So be sure to remove them using a shovel. You can leave dead plants behind. They will act as organic manure.

Step 2: Inspect the Tiller

It would be catastrophic to start tilling the machine without inspecting it for any faults. Pay keen interest on all the fittings and connections present on the device. Tighten any loose screws. They could cause damage to the tiller or predispose you to an occupational hazard. Check the fuel level in your gas-powered tine tiller and refill as appropriate.

Step 3: Make the Necessary Settings

Modern tillers including tine tillers allow you to make certain adjustments. You can adjust the tilling depth of the machine. Your guiding factor should be the type of plants you intend to grow in your garden. Certain plants grow better in deep soils while others appreciate shallower soils.

Step 4: Start the Tiller’s Engine

Motorized tillers feature an ON/OFF switch located on the engine. Start the engine by turning it on. Follow by choking it. Flip the ON switch and then engage the choke. This will close the choke valve to supply richer fuel to the engine for easy ignition. Find the recoil start of the engine. Use its handle and pull it back for the engine to start. Disengage the engine as soon as it starts.

Step 5: Till the Garden

With the engine on, allow the tiller to tiptoe to the location of the garden. However, it would be appropriate to start the engine at the location of the garden. Do not operate the device with a single hand. Once in position, pull the lever controlling the throttle to allow the tines to work their way into the soil. Let the machine pulverize the soil as desired. Use the machine’s two handles for better control. 

Work the tiller in the entire area of the garden. Occasionally, stop the machine, turn it off and remove any debris that might wrap around the tines. Always switch the machine off once you are through with your work.

Step 6: Clean the Tiller

Once you have obtained a good till then switch the machine off. Clean the tiller of any debris and soil clumps that might be wrapped around the tines. Storing your machine with dirt can reduce its lifetime by several years.


If you have a garden to till with a tiller then you now know how to go about it. As opposed to what some people new to gardening may think, tilling is not a difficult task. In addition to the above tips, you must also choose the tiller. 

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