How to Improve Your Community Garden with a Tiller

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Garden Tillers are essential for large areas in need of a makeover such as community gardens. These powerful machines can cut through fresh soil and loosen it into a brand new garden bed. When creating a new green space or overhauling a bleak pocket garden, the help of a tiller greatly impacts what can be accomplished in a garden.

It is important to understand that tillers are powerful machines that are better for larger areas. Some tillers are designed for breaking new ground to create new planting beds. When tilling an area for a new garden, it must be done when it is warm outside and the soil is somewhat dry. For best results when tilling, wait a day or so after it rains so the dirt is semidry. That little bit of moisture will make the soil easier to till. Soil that is too wet will clump and eventually dry into hard clods that will be difficult to break up. The soil should also reach a temperature of about 60°F before it can be tilled.

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The first thing to remember in tilling is to remove any rocks, sticks or other debris. For existing gardens, pull up any thick weeds or vegetation that might become entangled in the tiller tines. The machine will chop up smaller weeds. Then start the tiller, following the manufacturer’s directions and work in parallel lines across the garden. Let the tiller do the work! Continue tilling until the organic matter is thoroughly mixed into the soil to a depth of about 8 inches. Now that your garden is fully tilled and the soil is rich and fertile, you’re ready for planting!

It is important to note that sod can be removed before tilling or worked into the soil. Working the sod in during the fall will provide nitrogen to the soil. However, tilling sod under in the spring may cause grass to resurface as the temperature warms. Tilling in the fall is ideal for the success of your garden; in fact, National Planting Day falls on Sept. 9 and focuses on encouraging citizens and organizations across the country to implement beautification projects and increase native plantings in their communities. If you want to join in on the spirit and give your community garden a boost, you should consider applying for our Tiller Grant, which is open for one more week!





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