Hello again. Now that you have had time to consider your machine options, we’ll discuss breaking ground.
Have you chosen a spot? Does it get great sunlight? (a must for melons & berries, not so important for lettuce & chard)
1) Try to stay a safe distance from trees so that you won’t till into the root system.
2) make sure your area is clear of any buried cables,pipes or lines. 1-800-missdig or a similar service will come and check for free.The # is in your phone book.
3) stay off the north side of hills and out-of-the-way of any water run off.
When breaking ground, wait until the weather is warm enough to thaw the ground, but not so late in the season that grass & weeds are growing. In Tennessee we can start with vegetables like lettuce & snow peas in February. It is really important to make sure the soil is dry enough to till. a rule of thumb is;
If you can squeeze the soil & wring water out, or it squishes out of your hand, it’s too wet.
No matter what time of year you start the garden, you want to be sure not to till-in grass and weed seeds. That would just be mechanical planting of weeds! if it hasn’t gone to seed yet, bonus. Till it in. Green Manure! If it has, then cut and remove it along with all other sticks, rocks etc.
When laying out a spot, I always mark off an area larger than I need. That way, I will be tilling and disturbing the grass root system. then it won’t creep back into the garden plot too easily.
Operating a Rototiller is much like push mowing. You want to slightly overlap the last pass. On the back of the tiller is an adjustable bar called a depth gauge. The theory is, as follows…
When you are first breaking the top soil, It is hard, compact and choked with the grass and weed root system. If you try to till deep, you will constantly get bound up. In the case of the tiller with the thin metal halves that we saw in the last section. You will blow the transmission up. So set the depth gauge shallow, so that you just start to scratch the surface. Then with each run of the garden plot, you can set the gauge deeper.Do this until you have turned all the soil. Remember the idea is to get everything on top turned onto the bottom so that the growing cycle will be stopped and composting will start.
Please let me know if this helped you!