I discovered a great garden tool this week, one that I have had in my shed for 4 or 5 years and never used. It’s a Twist Tiller that I gave Nancy for a birthday present since she probably does more gardening and tilling than I do. I tried it once, the first summer, but the ground was sunbaked, and it seemed like too much work.
But when I planted this spring, I decided to give it another go as the soil was damp and relatively soft. It worked like a charm.
Instead of plowing or rototilling, I simply went down each row, twisting as I went. The tool crumbled the dirt finely, not in thick slabs like you would get after turning the soil over with a shovel. After I had prepared the rows with the twister, I easily dug the trenches with a spade, sewed my seeds and tapped down the soft earth. The soil was fine and spread nicely over the rows. This was a real break-through for me.
My understanding is that you don’t do a garden any favors when you plow it all up. They say that traditional plowing can lead to soil loss. Plowing disturbs bacteria, fungi, and animals that make soils naturally fertile, and it releases the carbon stored in soil organic matter. In large plots, it raises the risk of erosion, which moves fertile farm soil into bodies of water. The Twist Tiller leaves the soil’s inner workings intact, only loosening the dirt in the rows to be planted.
I hope the soil remains unbaked until April when I plant my summer garden. But fellow backyard gardeners, check out the Twist Tiller. It’s a handy tool to have around.