Well today is the day! We borrowed a RotoTiller from our family and are tearing up a section in the back yard! So finally after an unsuccessful attempt last year, we are giving it a full go this year!
Some simple tips for working in the dirt in your yard.
First map out a good location. Think about the area of the country you live in. Where in your yard is the sun at certain times of day. Find out where the shade is and what you plan on planting. Some like direct full day sun, some like just partial sun. Also plan where you want to plant certain plants, like corn grows tall and it will shade shorter plants, vine plants do well in the tall corn, like water melon, or cantaloupe. Also think about the access you will need to get in between and around the plants to weed it, and pick the veggies or fruit!
We picked the back left side of our yard. Why? Well mainly it was dirt to begin with. Second it is shaded by the hottest late afternoon sun, by a tall walnut tree on the other side of our yard.
BEFORE you dig:
First CALL 811 (nation wide) or visit Call 811.com your call will be forwarded to your local call center and they will schedule your local utility services to mark where the buried cables and gas lines are located at. This process takes about 2 days, so always give your self time to have them come mark the ground before you dig or till.
If you borrowed a Tiller like we did, always check the to make sure you know how to work it properly. If you rent one, make sure you understand the operation as well. In both cases and if you own one, always check the fluids, the gas, the oil, and that everything is clean, and topped off. Check tire pressure, and make sure there are no leaks in the tires. These machines have a lot of torque or pulling power and put a lot of stress on the tires. Make sure the rear protective plate near your feet is well lubricated at the hinges. That way it glides over the dirt with out getting stuck up and have rocks and sticks thrown at your feet from under it.
With the spark plug unplugged, make sure the rotating section under the protective cover is clear of any wound up wires, ropes, or roots. Once cleaned out, reattach the spark plug and get ready for a work out. Also walk through the area where you plan on tilling, and clear out anything you can find on the ground, metal, rope, any thing you can visually see. You don’t want any thing extra spinning around in front of you.
Also if you have weeds or grass in the garden area you want, do NOT spray weed/grass killer down. It will kill not only the weeds and grass, but will remain in the soil and kill off your garden as well! Remove the weeds, and grass if they are large patches with a shovel.
Always where protective shoes. All though its warm out and you have been wanting to wear sandals, you really need to protect your feet and toes from debris and protection from the spinning roto tiller while turning and running it. Eye protection is always a good idea. While you are running it, hang on! You never know when it will fit a rock or a root or something and bounce around on you. Luckily our dirt was nice and soft, and it floated like butter…lol.
It is always good to make a couple passes. Up and down the longest path is easier. As trying to lift and turn the machine is quite clumsy.
On the last pass, I will walk on the side of the machine. I like to leave the dirt nice a fluffed up. When you walk behind the weight of your foot print compresses the soil. So I walk on the edge where I plan on tilling next. So there you go. Your garden bed is ready!
Some options depending on your soil: You can take a sample of the dirt to your local nursery or garden store and some will take readings from it. Doing this you can add additives like fertilizer or manure to it to make the soil the best it can be.
Stay tuned weekly as we design rows, paths, weed barrier, planting, and even more through out the summer.
I’m not expert or even a green thumb. I’m just a guy who likes to play in the dirt…lol- So garden at your own risk lol