To stay safe and keep your tiller happy while improving your soil, follow these simple tips:
Avoid working soil when it’s very dry or wet, or you can ruin the soil texture. Wait until it is lightly moist. If necessary, water first.
Mow tall vegetation and rake leaves and debris. This prevents plants from getting tangled in the tines.
Check the oil in your gas-powered tiller regularly. Change it every 15 hours of running or every two years.
On slopes, proceed with caution. Large tillers can tip; use a smaller tiller or avoid tilling altogether.
Be careful what you till. Some weeds and invasive plants like nothing better than a good tilling because it chops them up and distributes them throughout the garden. Avoid tilling purslane, bindweed, nutgrass, crabgrass, and johnsongrass.
Don’t overwork yourself or the tiller. It’s better on you and the machine to make several passes over an area than to work it all at once.
Wear heavy shoes or boots when tilling. If you have a gas-powered engine, use ear plugs.
Wear heavy gloves to help absorb shock from the machine.