How To Rototill Your Flower Garden This Spring
April 28, 2009
Many gardeners start off their spring flower beds by tilling the soil. This is not necessary for all gardens, but there are times that tilling is necessary for successful gardening. Tilling should be done only when the soil is relatively dry and is warm. If the ground is still frosty, the tilling should wait until the last of the frost is gone. The soil should be at least 60 degrees when it is tilled. If the soil is too wet, it will not be broken up well by the tiller, and you could even damage the machinery. To test whether or not the soil is too wet, pick some up and try to make a ball with it. If you can make a mud ball, the area is too wet for tilling. If the soil falls apart, it is dry enough for the tiller.
Once the soil conditions are right, a garden tiller can be used to break up the grass and weeds that are standing between you and the flower garden that you want. The tiller will move best in rows, much like the movement of a push mower. Go over each row only once with the tiller. Only go as deep as you need. Going too deep brings up dormant weed seeds that will begin to grow if they end up on top of the soil. Using a shovel or fork to turn over the soil is also an option if you don’t have a tiller.
Once the rows are completed over the area that you want tilled, the remnants of the plants will need to be removed from the soil. Depending on how large the space is, this can be done either with a rake or by hand. All of the roots and seeds that remain in the soil should be removed in order to prevent them from growing back and encroaching on your new flowers.