Today on Gardening with Greg, I’m going to
show you why this right here can be your worst enemy. A couple years ago I noticed that the tilth
of my soil had started declining. The tilth is simply just the physical condition
of your soil. And it started getting real powdery. And I thought about it some and I realized
what I had been doing. I had been overusing the tiller in my garden
and I had not been feeding my soil enough compost and organic matter. Good soil tilth crumbles up in your hand and it’s got large crumbles there. That means you’ve got good soil healthy soil you’ve got a lot of organic matter in there. And also when you have good soil tilth, the
soil holds the nutrients better and the water flows through the soil structure better. If you have bad soil tilth, it’s really loose
and it doesn’t hold crumbles together. Also if you have soils that get compacted
or crusted on top, that’s another sign that you’ve got bad soil tilth. Now the reality is sometimes we have to use
a mechanical means to incorporate these cover crops. So I had daikon radishes here in this plot. And I’ve already run the tiller through there
one time and it busted them up pretty good. But you see I’ve still got some more. So what I’ll end up doing is I’ll take the
tiller one more time and run through here and bust this up so it will help it decompose so I
can work the soil. But the key here is to not use the tiller
no more than you have to. Do not use the tiller for cultivation at all. There’s a lot of other means out there that’s
a lot healthier for your soil than using a tiller. That tiller just beats your soil to death. When it runs through there and the soil gets
beat up, the soil structure gets compromised. So my strategy to improve my soil tilth consists
of three things. First is adding good compost. Second is to use cover crops, buckwheat
in the summer and a rye/legume mix in the winter time probably adds the most organic
matter of any of them. And also to change the way I cultivate. So sometimes I would get lazy and use the
tiller to cultivate and that was a no no. That destroyed my soil. So now I’m just going to use the Wheel Hoe
to cultivate with. To give you an example right here, I’ve got
these babies on here. And these will take the weeds out, but not
compromise the soil tilth. So the key takeaways here to be good stewards
of the soil is to feed it with some good compost, have a cover crop rotation there to add that
organic matter, and don’t beat your soil up with a tiller. Use other means of cultivation that’s easier
on your soil. So there you have it. Feed your soil good and it will pay back great dividends with some good groceries. I hope you enjoyed this video and we’ll see
you next week on Gardening with Greg.


  1. Well, I've been guilty of this myself, Last year I started noticing this also, now I'm trying to repair the damage. Very Good Tip Greg!

  2. Thanks, I feel like you just helped some folks. I learned it the hard way. It can be rather difficult and time consuming to bring it back.

  3. Hey, Greg! I noticed the same thing going on in my garden a couple of years ago. I have a Mantis tiller that is advertised for tilling and cultivating. I quit using it to cultivate, and my soil started improving…..And then I got major weed pressure. That's precisely why I invested in my wheel hoe – You can't beat the way this cultivates! My weed pressure has been greatly reduced, and I'm SO glad I bought a Hoss wheel hoe!!

  4. What are thoughts on using a "quack digger" or spring tooth drag as a primary tillage tool in the spring. As compared to a rototiller. Thanks

  5. Greg! that was spot on. I am really getting more and more excited about using my Hoss wheel hoe just for this reason. I use the Berta-Franco rotary plow more for turning the soil over, then it is the broad fork, and power harrow for prepping my beds before planting. I direct seed many crops with my Hoss wheel hoe and then I really like the oscillating hoes for cultivating. I prefer them to the sweeps. Anyway, that strategy has been evolving for the past 5 years. I bought my wheel hoe from you guys in 2014. It has been a tool that truly exceeded my expectations! Thanks again Hoss Tools! To everyone else, no I am not "a paid spokes person, I am a happy customer!"

  6. Use raised beds instead where you can completely control the growing mix in your beds. Not a lot of weeding to do.

  7. I never knew soil could be beaten to death. I've been using my tiller in my garden for thirty years and have been killing it. Glad I still get an amazing crop every year from that dead soil.

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