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6 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2009 - 9:03AM #1
appy20
Posts: 10,165

I posted this on the Home Spirituality board but got no replies.  Do any of you have or use a tiller for gardening?  If so, are they worth the money?  Pros?  Cons?  Recommendations?

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2009 - 2:03PM #2
frankieestep
Posts: 682

Unless you have a really big garden area, I would suggest renting one first to see if you like what it does.  My son in law used to rent one to do his yard before he laid the sod.  It worked well, but he didn't have a very big area.  Unless you will be using it a lot, renting may be the way to go.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2009 - 2:27PM #3
appy20
Posts: 10,165

If a tiller is easy for me to use the area would be large.  I have a 3 acre yard plus 7 acres pasture.  Total ten acres.  Some of the pasture might be made into a garden. This is the tiller I am looking at buying.  It only weighs 24 lbs.


http://mantis.com/tiller4_features.asp


For a weekend, to rent a tiller, it would cost $98 and those tillers are rather large.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2009 - 6:06PM #4
Hatman
Posts: 9,634

I have owned 2 tillers, and have operated a couple more.  I prefer the front-end tillers.  The weight of the motor is above the tines, and helps to drive them deeper into the earth; too, one can maneuver around obstacles or closer to fence-lines with this type.  The rear-tine tillers, I find, are clumsy and dangerous to feet, should there be a slip---likely, upon a 180 degree turn, btw.


I have a garden approx. 27'Wx33' long, and I double-till it every spring and fall; just doing this small area takes about 3 hours.


IIRC, an acre is a piece of land that's 550'x550', so a single tilling of an area that large will be quite an accomplishment, especially with a 24lb tiller.  Mine weighs approx. 80-90 lbs, and I have little trouble applying the proper leverage to get it up and into the bed of my truck, and back to the ground again.  A 24lb tiller will likely buck all over the place, and at best, till approx 3-4" of topsoil, when a good 6-8" is far better for drainage/aeration, root growth, etc..


When one considers WHEN to till, I have learned by hard experience to wait 2-3 days after a good rain.  Too soon, and the earth clumps into rock-hard lumps; too dry, and the tiller bounces and shakes terribly as it tries to till earth that is far too hard...iow, it beats you up.  If, for example, you do wait the requisite 2 days before tilling, then notice that the earth is clumping, stop and try again the following day; this will save you the trouble of re-tilling or hoeing it later, to break up said chunks into manageable, fecund soil.


I do love the scent of a freshly-tilled garden, though.  I like it better when the tomatoes are about ripe.


Warmest regards-


Hatman


 

"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2009 - 6:18PM #5
appy20
Posts: 10,165

Hatman,


What brands did you own?


 


I wont' be tilling all of the land. Specifically, I want to put in a very small meditation/prayer garden.  I also want, maybe, 20 X 20 fft vegetable garden.  A row of roses down 230 feet of fence line.  A few fruit trees.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2009 - 6:53PM #6
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

Mar 24, 2009 -- 2:27PM, appy20 wrote:


If a tiller is easy for me to use the area would be large.  I have a 3 acre yard plus 7 acres pasture.  Total ten acres.  Some of the pasture might be made into a garden. This is the tiller I am looking at buying.  It only weighs 24 lbs.


http://mantis.com/tiller4_features.asp


For a weekend, to rent a tiller, it would cost $98 and those tillers are rather large.




I have used this kind of tiller, it is light and easy to use to weed. If you wish to retill a field that has all ready been tilled this season. To turn a pasture into a garden you want a big heavy rear tine tiller. One that you can easily engage the drive wheels and tiller separately. Even for a big and heavy counter rotating rear tine tiller it will not be easy work. When going from pasture to garden I like to work in about an inch of sand. In my experience adding an inch of sand makes a significant difference. Can you create a garden in your pasture with a Mantis? Yes you can. will it be a big garden no. Can you do it with a front tine tiller? Again yes. Would this be the way I would choose to do it? Not unless I had nothing else available to me. I've used both the Craftsman counter rotating rear tine tiller and a Troy built one.  You get a bigger tiller with a Craftsman for the dollar spent, a longer lasting one with Troy.


If this is a one time even rent a big 250 lb counter rotating rear tine, for a chain link fence this is your only valid choice, the front tiller will catch the fence, IMHO. I'm assuming you're not 6' tall and 250 plus lbs, a front tine tiller will buck, or jump. And that will get it into your fence at some point.


 


 

For Technical support visit


> Dah's User to User Self Support <

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 24, 2009 - 7:18PM #7
Hatman
Posts: 9,634
Appy-
I've been using rototillers going on 14 years, now, and I frankly don't remember the name of the first I owned; I bought it for 50 bux from a neighbor, and it gave me faithful service for about 8-9 years.  I'm pretty certain that the motor on it was a Briggs and Stratton.  I eventually got tired of replacing the pull-starter mechanism on it, which I did 3x.

The one I'm using now is a Sears, with a "Craftsman" engine, also bought second-hand from a small-engine repair guy; I paid about 130 for it 4 or 5 years back, iirc.  Pretty sure that it also is a Briggs and Stratton engine, but wouldn't swear to it.

If all you intend, for now, is a 20x20 garden, then your little guy should suffice, perhaps; when I first began mine, I used a "spadin' fork" to first pull up all the sod.  I then shook off as much dirt as I could from each piece and set it aside.  Next, I used both a shovel and the spadin' fork to dig about 10" deep in the ground, removing all the palm-sized rocks(or bigger---one was the size of my head, which is not inconsiderable in size) as well as the clumps of clay and the roots, which were alternately dug up, around, and under, before being hacked out of there with an axe.  Once that was done, I turned all the soil over again with the spadin' fork, and hoe'd all the dirt clods up into soil-sized particles.  Then I used a steel rake to smooth things out.  I sprouted all my seeds before plantin' 'em, and things grew just fine, but I had first sent off a soil sample to my local college to obtain their fertilizing recommendations, which I followed assiduously long before plantin'-time.

By the next year, I was right tired of turnin' things over by hand, and began to borrow the neighbor's tiller; haven't not used one since, save for every seventh year(biblical principle: let land lie fallow every seventh year).

Told you all that to tell you this; last Spring, I rototilled some virgin sod and the earth beneath for my next-door neighbor, a plot about 8' wide x 30' long.  It about beat me to death.  My arms were quite sore when I was finished the first run-through, then I steel-raked the clumps of sod (and a few rocks) out of it before giving it a second go-round.  So if you intend to rototill without first removing the sod, you'll need to prepare yourself.  It can be done.

As to the rose garden, I think you'd be better-served by using a diggin' bar, shovel, and post-hole digger.  I've planted roses for a neighbor, and I went down 16-18", filling the bottom of the hole with approx 9-10" of peat moss, followed by fresh-purchased topsoil for the remainder around the rootball.  They've done just fine over the 10 years or so since I planted them, 3 white on one side of her sidewalk, 3 red facing them.  Told you that to tell you this---a rototiller simply won't get deep enough to plant roses such that they can develop a deep root system, which comes in handy during drought.  "Sevin" is the name of an insecticide that works well to stave off the Japanese beetle, though occasional sprayings(just after thunderstorms) with a cheap dishwashing liquid also works well(well, it does on my tomatoes, at any rate; ymmv, but tend to the undersides of the leaves where they like to hide).

Warmest regards-

Hatman
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2009 - 9:12AM #8
appy20
Posts: 10,165

DAH, 


This is a rear tine tiller.  It has a Honda motor and from reading garden blogs all over the web, there are a lot of folks that have done well with new ground on this tiller.  It is small though.  Under 2 HP, I think. They do have a smaller tiller that is front tined.


If it just does my prayer garden, which would be only small areas and a few tomato plants, that would be enough. 


I don't know.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2009 - 9:13AM #9
appy20
Posts: 10,165

Hatman,


The spadin fork is a good idea.  A very good idea.


In fact, I am going to try and get one on my lunch hour.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2009 - 10:34AM #10
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

Mar 25, 2009 -- 9:12AM, appy20 wrote:


DAH, 


This is a rear tine tiller.  It has a Honda motor and from reading garden blogs all over the web, there are a lot of folks that have done well with new ground on this tiller.  It is small though.  Under 2 HP, I think. They do have a smaller tiller that is front tined.


If it just does my prayer garden, which would be only small areas and a few tomato plants, that would be enough. 


I don't know.




This is your Mantis;



This is the Troy built rear tine;



 


This is the Sears Craftsman;



This tiller weighs about 250 lbs... Both of these are self propelled


 


This is a front tine tiller. It weighs about 100 lbs. and you need to push it.


 


For Technical support visit


> Dah's User to User Self Support <

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