A Detailed Guide to Hand Tilling

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Are you planning to till your garden? This task is necessary before planting new crops and seedlings. It should be performed twice annually, in fall and spring. 

Small gardens stand to gain from tilling, as it breaks the soil up effectively, provides better air circulation, allows roots to spread, enables fertilizers to penetrate deeper, breaks up roots of weeds, etc. 

Such a gardening task is best performed with a hand tiller, which is considered more effective than spades and shovels. 

The guide below will introduce you to hand tilling. 

How to use a hand tiller?

This gardening tool is vital for individuals working with small gardens. Tilling is of the utmost importance for planting, as it prepares the soil for this process. The soil has to be loose for seedlings and planting seeds to be planted successfully. Plants and roots are not fond of thick soil, as it prevents them from gaining access to nutrients, moisture, and oxygen. 

Additionally, tilling is used for adding organic matter to the earth so as to make it more fertile. Hand tillers help gardeners stir the material in and allow plants to access the nutrients. Even though shovels are sometimes used for the same task, these tools do not have the same effect on breaking the dirt up. Visit this website for some useful tips on tilling a garden. 

In terms of operation, hand tilers are easy to operate. Gardeners are supposed to bend down or kneel close to the soil while trying to penetrate it with the help of a handheld tiller. Conversely, when using a long-handled model, gardeners are expected to stand, lean a foot on the platform, and use their body weight to force the tool inside the soil. 

When to use it?

Hand tillers are supposed to be used twice a year, in the autumn and spring. Tilling in autumn is considered optional for gardeners not planning to plant cover crops or over winterize their plants. Unless you plan to work over the winter, tilling will do nothing but disturb the soil that’s already copious in nutrients. In fact, autumn is the perfect period for enriching it with supplements and nutrients, such as compost and manure. These vitamins and minerals will have enough time to break down over the winter months. 

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Spring tilling, however, is believed to be essential, as the soil becomes thick after being exposed to snow and rain over the winter period. It is what the soil needs to loosen and allow roots to take hold. Otherwise, your flowers and crops will not be able to gain access to oxygen and the nutrients they desperately need to take root. 

The role of tilling is to overturn the hardened dirt, which has become compact because of the weather elements. The soil is supposed to be provided with fresh air to allow seedlings to grow. Regarding the best time for tilling, you should be keeping track of the soil temperature. Once it reaches approximately sixty degrees, it is considered ready for the process. 

Make sure not to tile before it reaches the right temperature, as the cold has the power to make dirt hard again. Tilling should be done right before planting in order for weeds to have no chance to cause immediate damage. As far as fall tilling is concerned, the task should be performed before the ground becomes frozen. You should not wait for too long following the harvest of plants. 

How to pick one?

In order for the tilling task to be performed successfully, gardeners should purchase the right-hand tiller, either handheld or long-handled. When looking for a hand tiller, you should consider all options in the market. The easiest way to decide between a handheld and a long-handled model is by considering the area where you need to use it. Raised beds and small areas can be tilled with a handheld tiller, as you will not need to penetrate deep into the soil. 

Nevertheless, when there is no easy access to the soil because of not having a place for gardeners to kneel, a long-handled model is the better choice. These long-handled tools are more suitable for large spaces and for gardeners with joint problems who have trouble kneeling. 

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Another thing to consider is the length of the handle. It should be chosen in accordance with your height to prevent pain in the shoulders and the back. When holding the hand tiller, you should do it comfortably while standing up in a straight position. If you are bending over, the length of the handle is inappropriate. 

When it comes to the material, these tools should be manufactured with high-quality steel or solid wood. The material must be durable to prevent breaking or bending. Also, the handle grip should be considered, as it’s supposed to enable painless use of the tool. You should opt for either wooden or cushioned handles, which cause no blisters and avoid sliding off. 


Tilling is known to have a multitude of benefits in the gardening process, such as breaking up the soil effectively. While it is similar to aerating, tilling is performed as a preparation for the planting process. Unlike spades and shovels, hand tillers are equipped with tines and prongs, which make the penetration much easier.

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Another benefit of using a hand tiller is allowing roots to spread by making the soil crumblier and loose. Since immature roots lack the power to push heavy earth, they need crumblier earth to establish and spread naturally.

Air circulation is yet another reason for using a hand tiller. Plants require air for their survival, as the roots need it to absorb water and nutrients. There is supposed to be air in the soil for water to move through it freely and prevent roots from rotting. The following link, https://www.thespruce.com/air-circulation-for-plants-1402549, explains how to provide good air circulation for plants.

A final note

Planting is best performed after garden tilling. 

Purchase the best hand tiller to meets your gardening requirements!

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