Before you can learn how to till a garden you need to know when to till a garden. For most people, the best time for tilling dirt is in the spring. Before tilling your soil you must wait for two things. The soil must be dry enough and warm enough. If you do not wait for these two things, you may be causing more harm than good to your soil and plants. If the soil is too wet when you till, the structure of the soil can collapse. If the soil does not have enough organic material to “fluff it up”, the parts of the soil can settle together. Even working the soil when it is too dry can disrupt the natural structure of the soil and collapse it.
To see if your soil is dry enough, pick up a hand full and squeeze it in your hand. If the ball of soil in your hand fall apart when poked, the soil is dry enough. If it stays together in a ball, the soil is too wet for tilling.
To see if the soil is warm enough, stick your hand or a finger a few inches down into the soil. If you are unable to keep your hand or finger in the soil for a full minute, than the soil is not warm enough. You can also simply measure the soil temperature. You need the soil to be at least 60F before tilling and planting.