How To Use A Tiller ? Best Tips 2023

Do you know what it requires most to have a successful garden? It doesn’t matter what you are growing, whether it is fruits or vegetables; what you need most is rich soil. And one of the easiest ways can be to use a tiller.

Tillers are used for preparing the soil for cultivating and planting easily. But if you don’t know how to use a tiller, then this easy thing can turn up into great difficulty. So, we are here with all you need about using a tiller for the garden.

So, let’s start without any further due.

Before you start tilling here are some things you must know-

Don’t till in wet soil. This can occur poor root penetration. To determine if dry or wet, you can pick a ball of soil up. When poking, if it falls apart, then it is dry enough. If not, you should know that it needs more time to dry.

After the tilling, water the area. And let the soil set for at least a day.

How to prepare the soil for Tilling/Cultivating and Planting

You can till the garden weather using a motorized tiller or manual tiller. But to start the process, it doesn’t matter what process you are following. You must prepare the soil first. Here are some steps about preparing the soil for tilling and planting-

You can see more best-bagging-zero-turn-mower

Step 1: Remove existing weeds and plants from the garden

It is so important to clean the field before starting tilling. Because by removing the grass or weeds from the field will help to get more effective and easier tilling. It is like you are tilling for planting new crops by removing the older ones. These steps below will help you to know how to use a tiller to remove weeds –

  • Removing plants and weeds

    Dig the field with a shovel, especially around the roots of weeds and existing plants. For this, start by several centimeters away from the existing plant and try to dig at a 45-degree angle towards the root. It will help to separate the root. Then use the shovel to sever it and pull the plant using your hand by wearing gloves.

  • Removing sod

    Use a shovel, an herbicide, and a sod cutter. It will help to dig out small patches at a time.

  • Removing dead plants

    It is not necessary. Leave them on the field. By mulching up, it will add organic matter to your garden.

Step 2: Move Obstruction or Hindrance From the Field

There are often big or small rocks, stones, or other trees seen in the garden. These obstructions can make the tilling difficult. When these appear in the way of the tiller, it hampers the tiller also. So it is important to move them before you till. Here are some steps about how to remove obstruction before tilling-

  • Use a wheelbarrow.
  • Try walking up and down through the field you are going to till.
  • Search for rocks, stones, or any other obstructions.
  • Whatever you find, place them in the wheelbarrow.

Step 3: Testing and Evaluating the Soil Before Tilling

Not all plants in the field need the same type of soil condition. They have different needs. If those are not fulfilled, the plants die. So you have to evaluate them in two ways- soil type and pH test of the soil. To determine the soil type and pH follow these-

  • Use a hose to soak a small amount of the soil of the garden.
  • Take the small trickle soil and squash it into a ball.
  • Protect the ball from rain. But to place it in a well-ventilated area.
  • Let it dry for a day.
  • Pick up the soil and check. If the ball is tight, then it indicates clay. If it loses shape, mostly, it is sand. If crumbly and holds the shape loosely, then it is ideal.

To get accurate pH, take some soil to your country extension office for analysis. This is free mostly.

Also, see more about best-zero-turn-mower-for-hills

Step 4: Adjusting the soil

  • To get a better result, you can amend the soil with organic matters. More likely to have perfect pH, you can add specific soil or different things.
  • Sprinkle some lime or wood ash all over the soil of your garden for a high pH soil.
  • Sprinkle sawdust or compost for low pH or alkaline soil.
  •  Use five to ten cm aged compost or manure for sandy or clay-like soil.

Method 1: Tilling Through Motorized Tiller

Tilling by a motorized tiller is the easiest way to till a garden. Follow these steps below to see how to use a motorized tiller-

Step 1: Starting a tiller

  Setting the Depth Adjuster of The Tiller

 ➥ You should set the depth adjuster to keep track of your depth in the soil while digging. Most of the                 time,  the front-tine tillers are used in the backyard. There is a metal part in the tool that slides along           behind the tines.

➥ First, till set the adjuster all the way up because you may not want to go too deep in the first attempt.

➥ If the adjuster of the tiller is all the way up, then your pass will be shallow. That means you don’t need          to  tip them down.

●  Turn on the tiller

➥ In motorized tiller, there are On and Off switch. It is important to start the machine before starting the        motor.

●  Open the Throttle Before Starting the Engine

➥ As these are motor-powered machines. So it is important to start the engine after opening the throttle. This helps to get fuel in the engine. 

 If your tiller has rabbit and turtle on its throttle to indicate its position, just push the lever to the rabbit when starting the tiller.

●  Engage the choke and close the valve

 The choke controls air intake in the engine. It is so valuable. To start your engine, engage the choke and close the valve. It will reach the fuel supply and make it easier starting the engine. Getting too much air in starting up would indicate not having enough fuel for running.

●  Pull the cord

 When the engine starts, disengage the choke immediately. To start the engine, pull back the handle in one motion. If it doesn’t work in a try, try again by pulling back.

Step 2: Use the tiller for tilling prepared soil

●  Pulling up the pedals under the handles of the tiller

Starting the motor is not enough as you’ll notice then that the tines are still not turning.

 Squeeze the levers to engage them under each handle to spin.

 You will control the forward motion. To prevent it from going forward, pull back on the handles in time of pushing down to lift them out of the soil. And of course, hold the machine tight.

●  Tip the garden tiller forward

In order to till your ground, you have to move the tiller forward. For this, you should maintain a few steps-

 Raise the handles first upward to tip the tines downward.

 When you push it into the ground, immediately it will start churning the soil.

➥ Now forward at a normal pace, it will help the tiller to tip at the same depth.

●  Make a pass to another row

After you get to the finish of one row, you should make it to another row quickly. Backyard tillers are not turned so easily.

 At the finishing of a row, push the tool forward in a curve. It will help to turn around.

 Don’t try to till the next row beside you, rather move by one row to your next pass. It will make it easier to maneuver.

●  Have a second pass in the opposite direction

When you’ve done tilling the area once, you should repeat the process. It will help to till at a deeper depth.

 Go in the opposite direction. Like, if you have gone on horizontal, try vertical.

 Push the tines further for more depth.

➥ Make two passes to ensure a fully tilling experience.

●  Turn the tiller off

When you’re finished with tilling, stop the machine by following ways-

 Release the levers and stop tines from moving.

 Flick the switch to turn it off.

Method 2: Tilling Through a Manual Tiller

Manual tiller means hand-tiller or non-motorized tiller. Some so many people use manual tillers. Some of the tillers have a bladed wheel that helps to push forward. And others are to move forward from here to there. Follow these steps to get an answer about How to use a manual tiller or How to use a garden hand tiller-

  • Strat it by pushing the spikes and blades to the desired tilling depth (6-8 inches generally)
  • Push the tiller forward for a bladed wheel.
  • Twist the tiller as you pull it for a tiller without wheels. Move it over and over.

Make sure Personal Safety

The job is not that risky. But still, there are times when you can get hurt by simple things. So here are some things you can follow-

  • Wear safety glasses to get help from rocks, dirt etc. while tilling.
  • Use wearing long sleeves and full pants to protect arms and legs.
  • Wear boots to protect toes from the tines. It may appear risky.

Types of Garden Tillers

There are so many garden tillers available in the market. Some of them function so good to say, but some are not that good. In order to till your garden easily and fastest way, it is so important to choose a good type of garden tiller.

Garden tillers are of different sizes and features. Rear-tine tillers are the most powerful tillers, and they can break up the soil so easily that they have never been tilled.

Front tine tillers are for smaller space than rear-tine tillers. They usually don’t have much power like them. But they are ideal for gardens. And also cost-consuming than rear-tine.

The last option is the cultivator. They are for small areas and designed for turning around soils and existing plants and weeds.

You should choose the tiller you need for your field. It will help both with money and time!

Things Not to Do in Tilling

  • Don’t pick a land and start digging. Call 811 to locate and mark utility lines before digging.
  • Clear rocks and debris.
  • Clear sods.
  • Don’t till too much in a year.

Things to do in tilling

  • Read the manual before using the tiller. Learn about everything about a tiller and what can a manual do.
  • Use tilling in dry soil.
  • Till up to 6-8 inches depth.
  • For a small area, use front tine tiller.
  • Learn how to use a tiller.



Question: How to remove weeds after completing tilling?

Answer: For this use, a stiff-tined rack and any existing weeds buried in the process will die.

Question: What are the differences between a tractor cultivator and a tiller?

Answer: Well, tractor cultivator vs. tiller is a popular question. Tillers are mainly for tilling bigger or small fields by rear-tine and front-tine tillers where cultivators help to remove weeds and plant on cultivation in small spaces.

Question: how to use a tiller to make rows?

Answer: As the article try to till by one row by another to the next. And then come in the opposite direction. It will help to make perfect rows.

Final Verdict

Tilling a field is easy as well as difficult. It depends on the one who is using the tiller. Now, if you know the process of how to use a tiller, it can be one of the easy things to do.

We are coming all this way reading. You have got all the ideas you need regarding tilling. It is difficult to illustrate everything in a single content. So, you can comment us any of your questions here. We will look forward to it!

Best of luck. Happy tilling!

Leave a Comment