How should I till my soil?


This is not as simple a matter as it sounds. There are many reasons not to till your soil at all. Tilling the soil has several possible disadvantages. For example, tilling will expose dormant weed seeds which will then germinate. Also, tilling will disturb and perhaps destroy the earthworms and other organisms that naturally till and fertilize the soil. Finally, tilling will tend to destroy the humus in the soil by exposing it to light.

That said, there are some situations in which tilling is helpful. Most importantly, soil that has become compacted by foot traffic or machinery should definitely be tilled. Also, if your soil is poor then adding amendments (compost and/or fertilizer) by digging them into the soil will be beneficial. 

How to till or not to till that is the question

Tilling simply means turning over the soil. This can be done with a spade or a fork. But, the new thinking about tilling is no tilling. 2014 book, The Soil Will Save Us, Ohlson documents how soil scientists are experimenting with cover crops, composting, no-till techniques. 

  • Last Updated Jul 19, 2018
  • Views 76
  • Answered By Ken Lloyd

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 0 0

Ask a plant expert

Send us an email or use the question form below.

Submit a question

Before submitting your question, try searching our Plant and Gardening FAQ page and Help Guides. Still need help? Fill out the form below and a plant expert will answer your individual plant and gardening questions. We will respond to questions in the order we receive them.

Your Question
Your Info
Fields marked with * are required.