Soil preparation with the tiller

Slowly but surely the days are getting longer and the sun is gaining momentum. Even though the nights are still cold and it's not yet time to consider planting flowers and vegetables, it is still the perfect time to start slowly but surely preparing the ground. Regardless of whether you want to use it to lay a new lawn, loosen the soil or fold compost into vegetable patches, with the spade and the classic hoe this work is sweaty and, depending on the size of the area to be worked, a lengthy undertaking. Fortunately, there is now a motorised and muscle-sparing alternative for your own garden!

The motorised tiller

The motorised tiller promises help here. There are three different drive options to choose from. The electrically powered, the petrol-powered as well as the battery-powered tiller. The right variant depends on the particular area of application and the size of the grounds. In addition to the motorisation, the working width, i.e. the width of the raking part, plays a crucial role. If you only want to dig up and loosen smaller beds, you will be able to cope with a smaller working width, but as soon as it gets a little larger, the working width should get bigger too.

The battery-powered tiller

If, on the other hand, you only have a small or medium garden area to work on, then it is recommendable to use a cordless tiller. With a working width of 300 mm and with the help of two 18 volt batteries, there is nothing in the way of environmentally friendly processing. Vegetable or flower beds can be dug up and loosened conveniently and wirelessly.

The electric tiller

Anyone wanting to work on smaller beds, which are ideally located close to the house or the nearest power outlet, can confidently rely on the electric motor tiller. The electric tiller is also much easier to carry and store due to its lower weight compared to petrol-powered tillers. In addition to the motor tiller, depending on the distance to the nearest outlet all you need is an extension cable. However, if you're not careful, an extension cable that's lying in your path can suddenly be cut in two!

The petrol-powered tiller

While the motor tiller with petrol motor is considered a professional device by many, it has various advantages over the electric motor tiller, even in the private sphere. If, for example, you have to dig up larger vegetable beds, or even if you plan to re-sow the entire lawn, this cable-free tiller has all the advantages. It is not dependent on the presence of sockets, which means you don't have to take into account extension cables or cable drums.

How does the tiller work?

The core of the tiller is made of a cutting part made up of several curved knives, which is connected to the motor via a roller. The cutting part's knives effortlessly grip into the ground and cut through any plant roots. Additionally, the tiller digs up the ground and ensures that large clods of earth are crushed.

The optimal working depth for a domestic garden is around 20 centimetres. Unwanted plants and weeds rarely have roots deeper than this. After the area has been worked with the tiller, weeds, small stones and other undesirable objects can easily be picked up by hand. 

If you want to compost at the same time for better nutrient supply, you should distribute this on the surface beforehand. And the motor tiller will take care of the rest.

Gardening tip

If you dig up their beds while there is still frost at night you minimise the risk of a snail infestation in the summer. The eggs of snails and other harmful insects are relatively prone to frost. For this reason, the nests are usually deeper than 10 inches in the ground. By digging, they are flushed to the surface and killed in the next night frost.

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Picture of the author Hauke Leweling.
Written by Hauke Leweling
Published on 13.03.2019

Whether it's the garden or the workshop, Hauke Leweling is a true all-rounder and a freelance blogger. For Einhell, Hauke is armed not only with pen and paper but also with various gardening tools and equipment that he thoroughly tests. He shares his experiences, as well as tips and tricks, in his blog posts.