To till or not to till?

Jan 19, 2024, 9:44 AM | Updated: 10:20 am

Tilling can break up the soil structure. The no-till method can provide your plants with necessary ...

Tilling can break up the soil structure. The no-till method can provide your plants with necessary aggregates. (Canva)


SALT LAKE CITY — To till or not to till… It’s a common question gardeners ask around this time of year as they are preparing to plant.

To help answer this question, KSL Greenhouse Hosts Taun and Maria went over the concept of till vs. no till gardening.

Plant of the Week: Spider Plant…
32 minutes

Taun first explained the concept of no-till gardening. Its philosophy is that tilling does no good because it can break up the soil structure, especially for clay or loam soil. The no-till method, on the other hand, can provide your plants with necessary aggregates.

“When you have leaf litter and other organic matter that breaks down, as it’s breaking down it actually has soil particles adhere to the particle of organic matter,” Taun said.

This forms aggregates which hold on to soil nutrients better. They also create air space and drainage in the soil, which are essential for plants.

Tilling runs the risk of breaking up these aggregates. It prevents the soil from draining well, making it less friendly for root growth.

That doesn’t mean Taun’s against tilling. In fact, he tills his garden at least once or twice a year.

“What I will do is optimize when I till, and I’ll put down compost. I till in the spring before I’m ready to prepare my garden… and I will till in the fall just because I like to put in compost in the fall, and that will help get rid of some insect pests,” he said.

The KSL Greenhouse is on every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. You can follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and on our website.

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To till or not to till?