If you are spending more time in your garden during the summer months and at weekends, then a rotavator could be a wise investment. In this article, we explain what a rotavator is and how it can be used.

What is a rotavator?

A rotavator breaks up the soil in a border so that anything planted can grow better. The process of breaking up soil churns and aerates the soil, making it a richer environment for plants. The process only needs to be done once, just before planting any seeds or established plants. If you are planting vegetables at different times of the year, then a rotavator can be used almost throughout the year. 

What's the difference between a rotavator, a tiller and cultivator?

Rotavators are also referred to as tillers or cultivators. However there are some slight differences between rotavators, tillers and cultivators although they do a very similar job to the soil. Rotavators have wheels that drive it along with the blades behind that churn up the earth, whereas a cultivator has no wheels and is driven by the blades that churn up the earth and the tiller is, in the main, a hand held soil churning machine.

At John Miller Garden Machinery, we provide a range of garden rotavators to suit your garden and needs.

Are you growing vegetables?

Preparing soil for vegetables. Rotavators can enrich the soil for a number of applications including adding plants or laying new turf in your garden but they are also perfect for anyone looking at planting and growing vegetables in their garden or allotment. The quality of the soil when planting seeds can impact how well vegetable plants grow. Hard, dry soil, for example, can make it very difficult for a seed to survive and grow as any rainwater is quickly soaked up by the dry soil rather than being used to hydrate the seed.

Rotavators also help to level the ground and to drain away any excess water. Here are some benefits of, and tips for using a rotavator:

The good ol’ manual way?

If you have plenty of hours to spare, a cast-iron back and don’t mind a bit of pain and strain then a spade and fork can be used to churn soil manually but - as you can guess - it’s a lot of hard work, especially with larger areas when planting vegetables. Or if your soil is heavy with clay. A rotavator, however, is easier and is much quicker. It also does a better job than when using a garden fork. Rotavators need guidance and some strength to ensure the blades dig in to the soil but once you have the hang of rotavating the earth you’ll never dig over large areas of earth manually again!

Richer soil

After using a rotavator, it’s much easier to plant seeds and the soil is richer than either not doing anything or just using a fork to dig up soil. If you want a great harvest of potatoes, carrots or any other type of vegetable, then there’s a great chance of success with a rotavator.

Before using a rotavator, it’s recommended to remove any existing growth such as weeds. This will help the rotavator to be more effective and to ensure that the soil is better for planting. It will also avoid having weeds being spread around by the blades of the rotavator!

Ensure the ground has the right moisture

Before tilling, make sure that the ground isn’t too hard or too wet and muddy. Earth that has a high level of clay can be quite hard and might need to be watered to soften the texture. It’s recommended to do this a few days before using your rotavator to allow the ground to absorb the water and soften sufficiently. Be careful not too make your clay too soggy though or it will stick to the rotavator blades quickly.

Pass over the soil several times if you need to

To properly break up and aerate the soil, it might take several passes. After the first pass, stop and inspect the soil to see if you are happy with it.

If you think you will need several passes, then start with your rotavator on a higher setting on the first pass and lower the blades on subsequent passes. It can sometimes take up to 3-4 passes to ensure the soil is properly tilled and ready to be seeded. However this depends on your soil type and what finish you want.

Questions about Rotavators?

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about using and buying a rotavator, please get in touch. You can also visit our online shop to see our range of rotavators.