Last Updated on November 13, 2020

Did you know that it’s possible to till a garden without a tiller? Today, we are going to look at how I use my favorite farm animal, the pig, to till our garden for us naturally.




We had an area on our farm where we wanted to put a new garden. There had never been a garden there before so we decided to till it up before using it.

One of the things we try to do on our farm is to let nature work so we don’t have to. And with that in mind, since we also raise pigs, we decided to let our pigs till our garden for us.



Fertilizing the Garden Using Chickens

How to Till a Garden Without a Tiller Using Pigs - Fertilizing With Chickens

The first thing we did was we put our chickens in this area for about a month so they could fertilize it for us first. After that, we were ready to let our pigs till our garden for us.



Setting up the Garden for the Pigs

How to Till a Garden Without a Tiller Using Pigs - Setting up for the Pigs

If you are wanting to do this, you’ll need to set up a few things for your pigs

Since this was a temporary setup, you’ll notice in the background I used a car hood and some straw bales for theirs. You can really get creative here.

To keep the pigs in, we actually used electric poultry netting. But you can use whatever you want as long as it keeps them in and focused on tilling up that area.



The Results

How to Till a Garden Without a Tiller Using Pigs - Tilled Up

We used our pigs to till our garden for only about a week and this was the result of that. They did a great job.



Using the Pigs to Till Another Garden Area

How to Till a Garden Without a Tiller Using Pigs - New Garden

Here we have them on an additional garden area and they are currently in the process of tilling that one up too.

The type of pigs we used for this are American Guinea hogs. If you aren’t familiar with that breed, they are smaller than other pigs and are great at gaining weight just from foraging.

You can also see in this garden area that I added two recently weened piglets from a different breed.



Wood Chip Gardening

How to Till a Garden Without a Tiller Using Pigs - Wood Chips

We are big fans of wood chip gardening on our farm. So after the pigs are done we are going to cover it all with manure, compost, and finally wood chips.



Pigs Tilling the Garden

How to Till a Garden Without a Tiller Using Pigs - Pigs Tilling

My favorite Joel Salatin quote about pigs is that pigs have a plow in the front and a manure spreader on the back. We definitely took advantage of those unique characteristics and were able to let the pigs do the work for us so we didn’t have to.



The Video


If you have any question, let me know in the comments.



My name is Casey and I'm the creator of I created this site so I could share with you everything I know about farming and hopefully help you become a better farmer in the process.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. alison

    Once the pigs have tilled your garden area, how long do you let it rest before planting?

    1. Casey

      Hi Alison, I let the pigs till it in early spring and then covered it right away with manure, compost, and wood chips.

  2. Miranda

    Do you use the pig manure for the garden? Or do you put other manure there? And does the garden have to wait a few months before planting with pig manure in there? Thanks!

    1. Casey

      The manure that they put down while they are tilling it becomes fertilizer for the soil. I then may add horse or cow manure that I get from another farm. The issue with horse or cow manure is that, if it hasn’t composted for a while, it will have seeds in it which will bring weeds into the garden.

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