How to Till a Garden for the First Time

Published On: November 13, 20190 Comments on How to Till a Garden for the First TimeTags: Last Updated: February 12, 20243.1 min read

Unless you plan to use raised beds or containers, you will have to till the land to be useful. Cultivating a garden for the first time can be difficult, especially if you want to convert an area that was once grass. Tilling breaks up soil to make it easier for delicate seedlings to germinate and sprout. Loose soil creates a conducive environment to encourage growth and root development. The guide is provided by Garden Itch which provides the know-how for everything gardening related.

How to Till a Garden for the First Time

You need to match the right tiller to the job. For instance, a front tine tiller is good enough for smaller gardens. Similarly, a rear tine tiller is ideal for more extensive gardens. Check out at OutdoorGardenCare for learning more about front and rear tine tillers.

This is how to till a garden for the first time. You will need the following items.

  • Appropriate tiller
  • Wood stakes
  • String
  • Spade
  • Soil amendments

Steps to Follow when Tilling a Garden for the First Time

Step 1: Map the New Plot 

Use wood stakes to mark each corner of your new garden. Connect the stakes with a string to mark the edges. Alternatively, you can mark the borders by sprinkling limestone powder.

Step 2: Remove Visible Weeds 

Weeds compete with plants for nutrition and water. Remove the visible weeds by digging them up along with all their roots. Such action will discourage the growth of the unwanted plants one you plant yours.

Step 3: Remove Thick Grass or Sod 

This step is necessary if you have a small tiller incapable of removing the sod. Use your spade to lift grass leaving behind as much topsoil as you can. If any dirt clings to the roots, shake them off to ensure the grass dies. Better yet, use a garden wheelbarrow to transport the grass into a separate heap You can remove to sod or thick grass with a tiller if you have a robust model. However, the grass my regrow if you do this during spring.

Step 4: Test Soil Readiness 

The soil is ready when it crumbles when squeezed instead of forming lumps. It is better to till when the ground is somehow dry. You’ll get better results if you till when the soil temperature is 60 degrees F or above.

Step 5: Till Your New Garden 

Place your tiller in one corner of the garden plot and move it slowly and steadily along the length of the new garden. Repeat this until you cover the entire mapped area. If you notice some stubborn lumps, repeat the process as many times as necessary.

How to Till a Garden for the First Time - tilling

Keep cleaning the tiller’s tines as soil lumps build up, and plants wrap around them. For safety purposes, make sure you turn the machine off before touching the tines.

Step 6: Clear the Garden of Obstacles 

Tilling will unearth rocks, plant roots, and other obstacles. Remove them from the garden area. You must remove the hazards as soon as you see them. This is to protect the tiller from damage.

Step 7: Add Amendments 

Once you’ve prepared the garden well, add the necessary amendments. First, you’ll have to know the quality of the soil and the results of the tests done. Repeat the sixth step to work the nutrients into the ground.


As you can see, tilling a garden for the first time is not a complicated undertaking. Collect the items you need, wear a pair of gloves and goggles, and begin the process. A garden prepared this way will no doubt be productive. Try the steps and share with us your experiences and remember that you always must strive to learn more about gardening methods and soil preparation.

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