How to Use a Tiller

Tillers are the perfect tool for preparing the soil in your yard or garden, designed specifically to create a loose and drainable soil ideal for new plants. They come in small and large sizes so that you can select the perfect amount of power for your project.

Some people till their gardens immediately after the summer growing season because this provides optimal results. Any soil amendments have time to set and incorporate into the ground over the winter.

How To Use A Tiller - Northside Tool RentalOther people wait to till the soil until spring. If you are in this latter category, don’t worry! It’s not too late to get in on the growing season. You can still make your garden space a rich, nutrient-filled plot for a healthy harvest.

How to Use a Tiller

Using a tiller is pretty straightforward. Your goal is to loosen compacted soil and add new nutrients to the bed so that your plants will have a nutrient rich, well-drained area to thrive. You first need to churn up the old soil on top. Then you can add your nutrients and blend the soil until it is thoroughly incorporated.

  1. If you are tilling a brand new area, contact your local utility company to make sure that there are no underground utility lines in your chosen space. They will be able to mark the location of utility lines for you.
  2. Prepare your surface. Remove any surface rocks, sticks, or branches, and pull up large weeds or other plants as needed. Most tillers can chop up smaller plants and weeds. If your soil is very dry, use a hose to dampen the area a few days before you plan to till your garden.
  3. Inspect your tiller prior to use, checking oil, tire pressure and fuel level. This is also a good time to ensure that the blades (also known as tines) are clear of stones or debris.
  4. Adjust the handlebars to the correct height. This height should be slightly higher than comfortable, as your tiller will sink into the soil while in use.
  5. Position your tiller on one side of the area you plan to till, and choose a direction to work; right to left or left to right.
  6. Start your tiller and engage it by pushing it forward into the soil. The speed will vary depending on the type and density of the soil you are tilling.
  7. Reset your blades to the deepest setting and make a second pass over the plot.
  8. Once you have made a second pass, it’s now time to add any desired soil amendments. Work this in with your tiller by making passes along both the plot’s width and length. The ideal depth is about 8 inches.
  9. If you have the time, let the soil set for a few days to allow the amendments to incorporate into the garden. After that, make one final pass over the plot to make sure that your soil amendments are completely blended into the garden.
  10. Your garden is now ready for seeds and new plants!

Tiller Tips

How To Use A Tiller - Northside Tool RentalThese helpful tips will ensure that your project runs as smoothly and safely as possible.

  • Don’t overwork the soil. You will compact the soil and make it difficult for plant roots to spread.
  • Don’t force your tiller forward; just relax and guide it along the path. Your tiller will do all the hard work for you.
  • Don’t apply too much pressure to force the tiller to dig deeper. Tilling a yard properly takes multiple passes to ensure that old and new soil have been mixed together.
  • Walk on the side that has not yet been tilled so you don’t undo your work.
  • If you need to back up or use the tiller in reverse, look behind you and be careful of where you step.
  • Wear eye protection while your tiller is in use. You never know what the tiller might kick up!
  • Clean your tiller’s blades prior to use, occasionally during your project, and afterwards to ensure that they stay clear of mud and plant material.

Northside Tool Rental

If you’re ready to till your yard for a beautiful garden this spring, Northside Tool Rental has the equipment you need! Our tillers come in multiple engine sizes so that you can choose the right amount of power for your project. We’ll help you prepare the perfect soil for your garden!