Ohio Tiller
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:39 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: I am looking to buy a tiller.

I have one of those small electric mantis tillers that I use in my raised beds and it works great. It is not that deep digger like a Troy built but it does get the job done. I have a Troy built pony that I got from my Grandpa. it is a 1970's model and tuff as a Sherman tank! I use it in my bigger garden and just love walking behind it knowing my Grandpa did the same thing! You can find some real good used tillers on Craig's list for around 300 to 400 hundred.

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freedhardwoods
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 1:32 am
Location: Southwest IN

Re:

hendi_alex wrote:I'm not a fan of 'really good tillers'........The problem is, just like with the cheap junk models, after about five years it started to be aggrivating. When time came to use the tiller, I had to fiddle with it, mess with it, repair it, flush it,................. It was the same story season after season. It became more difficult to crank and was never a pleasure to use after the first several seasons.
You must have got a lemon. I just pour gas in and start my Troybilt every year. It always works like it's supposed to.

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: I am looking to buy a tiller.

I have a small tiller, it is more of a cultivator. It is high maintenance, requiring cleaning and greasing every 20 hours. You have to let it run dry or put stabil in the ethanol free gas or it spoils and you have to get it out before you can start the machine. Small tillers are dangerous. You need to be careful about rocks flying and the kickback will make it bounce and it is not as easy to control as a rear tine tiller, which also tills deeper.

Tilling is really not that great for the soil. It actually will kill soil microbes and most tillers still require you to walk behind them so you end up compacting the soil you just tilled.

If it is the first time and you have a lot of amendments to add, it probably is worth renting a tiller first.

After that, you should be able to do a 20x20 garden by hand especially if you can get a few friends over to help. You provide the pizza and beer afterwards.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

River
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:18 am
Location: Mobile

Re: I am looking to buy a tiller.

I have the rear tine husqvarna tiller that sells for $599. Great tiller and I use ethanol free gas in all my equipment.
Mobile al zone 8b

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hendi_alex
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Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Re: I am looking to buy a tiller.

Had to put a new carburetor on my Cub Cadet this year. Is cranking and running very reliably now. Still will buy a new model in a year or two regardless. Six to eight years will likely be the max that I try to squeeze out. Will sell the machine while it still runs well and replace with a new one. That way cost is held down while at the same time always having an easy to crank relatively new model.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

Black River
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Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:01 am
Location: NE Arkansas

Re: I am looking to buy a tiller.

I have two MTD Yard Machines rear tine tillers, one is my dad's old belt driven, and I own a shaft driven one. I've had the shaft driven one for 5 years and finally the main pulley wore out and I had to replace it. It has a Honda clone engine on it that never fails to start. The one that belonged to my dad is about 20 years old, and the carb wore out on the Briggs engine that was on it. This year I replaced it with a $100 6.5 hp Harbor Freight engine that starts every time and is powerful. I also replaced the belt for the first time this year. You just want to change the oil frequently the first few uses. One thing that I started doing this year was buying ethanol-free fuel and run it in my lawnmower, weedeater, tillers, and chainsaw. I have yet to have any problem using ethanol free. Ethanol gums up the carbs on gas engines, and unless you know how to clean a carb properly, its a hassle.

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jal_ut
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Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: I am looking to buy a tiller.

I bought my Troybilt Horse model in 1978. Yes I have had to put new tines on it and a new engine, but it goes on and on. I grow a big garden. This is more tiller than you need for a 20 x 20, but sure a nice machine for a little more space.

I just dug out the invoice on it. In 1978 I paid $652. Gee that was 38 years ago. 652/38 = $17.16 per year. Add on a new engine and tine replacements and it is still an inexpensive investment considering what I have got out of it over the years.

No matter what machine you may buy, it is mandatory that you check it over before each use and tighten the bolts, and change the oil now and then. If you are to keep any machine running, it needs maintenance. Plan on it.

If that is too much bother, buy a shovel.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: I am looking to buy a tiller.

The biggest problem with the light tiller/cultivators like mantis is the kickback. Front engine tillers cost more but will till deeper and be easier to handle. However, unless you have a tractor, it is not designed to dig through rocks and roots.
Most tillers only get about 4-6 inches deep, but the weight of the tiller and the fact that you almost always have to walk behind it compacts the soil again. Tillers have to be serviced every 20 hours. It is not hard to do but it is a pain to do it. I have not used my tiller in years. It was hard to start especially if it had old gas in it. You have to run the tiller until it is out of gas if you don't use it frequently, but you have to prime it again to get it started. In the end it is actually easier to till in the compost with a shovel than to use the tiller. You also have to weed first or the weeds will wind around a small tiller/cultivator's tines and they are a pain to remove.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

ButterflyLady29
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: I am looking to buy a tiller.

I can't even turn my tiller in a 20' x 20' space. It's a monster and super heavy. In my 30' x 30' garden I used a tiller only once and that was to break up the weed patch left by the previous home owner. I laid out beds and paths and use only a shovel, trowel, hoe and garden rake there now.

Black River
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Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:01 am
Location: NE Arkansas

Re: I am looking to buy a tiller.

I had a replay all typed out til I realized I posted on the same thread a year ago...LOL. I advise burning ethanol free fuel in any engine.

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