How to Plow a Garden for Growing Vegetables


Before you can consider planting a vegetable garden, your first thoughts need to focus on the soil. A good, loose, well-worked soil not only improves drainage, but also allows your plants' roots to grow more freely to search for water. If you don't know how to plow a garden for growing vegetables, it can appear to be a large task. However, once you know how to use a rototiller or garden tiller, the actual process of plowing your garden is relatively easy.

Step 1

Measure the area where you want your garden, and plant temporary stakes at each corner of the garden. Run string around the perimeter connecting all of the stakes and marking off your garden area.

Step 2

Remove the top layer of sod from inside the garden area. Dig the garden with a shovel up to 6 to 8 inches deep or more to loosen the soil and break up large areas, picking out rocks and sticks as you go.

Step 3

Bring your tiller to one corner of the garden and check to make sure the blades are locked and the engine is in neutral. Start the engine, lower the blades, and engage the tiller.

Step 4

Walk behind the tiller as you work in even parallel rows up to 5 inches deep. When you reach the end of each row, put the engine into neutral and bring up the blades. Rotate the tiller around to start the next row and then drop the tines again to begin.

Step 5

Till the garden crosswise in the opposite direction once you have finished one full pass of the garden. Working over the rows you just tilled will help further break up clumps and expose more rocks to be picked out.

Step 6

Add a 4-inch layer of compost or garden soil over the tilled soil before tilling it a third time. Work back and forth with the tiller, diagonally this time, to mix the compost or other organic material into the garden bed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always be sure to wear safety gear when operating the tiller and remember to oil or refill fuel into a cool engine.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Wooden stakes or sticks
  • String
  • Shovel
  • Garden tiller
  • Work gloves and boots
  • Safety goggles
  • Garden soil or compost, if desired


  • Vegetable Gardening: Your Ultimate Guide; Robert J. Dolezal; 2000
  • Growing Fruit and Vegetables; Richard Bird; 2003
Keywords: plowing a garden, plowing a garden for growing vegetables, how to plow a garden for growing vegetables

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.