Preparing the soil in your garden for planting helps assure a bountiful harvest. Before spring planting and transplanting begins, the soil should be prepared. First, remove old mulch and leftover plants tops, such as those of asparagus or rhubarb from all garden beds. Before any new growth appears on berry plants, remove old canes that look weak, diseased, damaged or bore fruit. Till the soil using a tiller machine.
Tips for Tilling:
- Adjust the machine to match ground conditions by testing the soil. Depending upon whether the ground is hard or loose, set the tiller accordingly and work a test area, then evaluate the result. Reset the depth bar, tine configuration, throttle or gear selection as necessary and continue tilling.
- Some tillers are designed to propel itself forward only; some are designed to till when moving both forward and backward. Determine which kind of tiller you’re working with. A forward-only model will need to be hauled backward to re-work the soil.
- Allow the tiller to “bite” into the soil and work its way forward. After the initial groundbreaking, work the tiller back and forth to cultivate the soil.
- Adjust the depth bar so the tiller is tilted slightly backwards.
- For hard, compacted soil or to dig deeper, lower the depth bar. Raise the depth bar when working in softer conditions.
- To cultivate soft soil or shallow soil, slow the engine speed, which will slow down the tines so the tiller can take smaller “bites” of soil for better performance.
- To cultivate hard soil, run the tiller at full throttle so the tines can take bigger “bites” of soil.
- After tilling, use a shove and rake to amend the soil with compost and peat moss, followed by “side dressing” with nitrogen, manure and fertilizer. Remember to test the soil for type of fertilizer and pH recommendations.
- Fertilize woody plants before new growth begins but after soil temperatures have reached 40 degrees.
Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with gardening projects. Learn more by reading our blog, Tackle Spring Clean-Up in Your Yard with This Handy Checklist. From tillers to landscaping tools, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.