garden5
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Which tiller is right for me?

My garden is about 15 x 20 ft. and, although it's not that large, I would like to get a tiller for it. I did a forum search, but the thread I found was not what I was looking for.

What I would like to know is if I should go with a front tine, rear tine, or a Mantis-like (small) tiller. My garden is the above size and is mainly dirt. I would like to change that by tilling in some compost and organic matter.

Would a front tine or a Mantis give me the depth and power I need to work a new garden, or would I need the big rear tine?

I would rather buy than rent since I could find repeated uses for it.

Thanks for the opinions.

Charlie MV
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Unless you can foresee a good bit larger garden, I'd get something like a Honda Harmony. I mention that one because I had one. There are plenty of similar small tillers out there. The Harmony is very light weight, it will go in small places and it's powerful for it's size. It also has a few attachments like an edger that I liked.

It has a handle on top so you can pick it up and plop it where you want to plow or store it. It will pull your arms out of joint.

It you're going to garden larger, a reversible tiller it the ticket. I have a Troybilt that does not reverse and I am sorry I didn't consider that factor when I bought it. It's hard to park in a tight place and forgetabout trying to pull it out of the storage shed backwards. I didn't consider it's weight when I bought it. Reversible tillers are about 7 to 9 hundred bucks.

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freedhardwoods
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Location: Southwest IN

Charlie MV wrote:It you're going to garden larger, a reversible tiller it the ticket. I have a Troybilt that does not reverse and I am sorry I didn't consider that factor when I bought it. It's hard to park in a tight place and forget about trying to pull it out of the storage shed backwards. I didn't consider it's weight when I bought it. Reversible tillers are about 7 to 9 hundred bucks.
Do you mean the tines aren't reversible or no reverse for the wheels. What model do you have? My Troybilt is 18 years old and I haven't really looked at the new ones.

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Duh_Vinci
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If you only going to use it once every so often, may not be a bad idea just renting one as needed.

For "extended" work, I find rear tiller with counter-rotating blades works terrific, even on my hard as a rock clay (when I prepare area for the future beds). Just walk along the side tiller while it's doing the work.

Our house was built less than 2 years ago, and there is still much work to be done in terms of gardening, overall soil improvements for the fruit garden area, making new flower beds, new borders and such... So for me and 2.5 acres, renting one was not viable option. In the fall, on clearance at Lowe's, I bought Troybilt Bronco II (but no reverse "gear", couldn't justify price difference of $300 in my mind)

For the smaller projects, I'm perfectly happy with $69 "tiller attachment" from Walmart (more like a cultivator), an interchangeable head that fits perfectly onto my Troybilt weed eater. Edger from the same system is often $49 on sale too. I like this multi-tool setup, breeze to change, and perfect for small/crowded places, corners and beds. This cultivator is deep enough to cut and mix top layer with new amendments, yet shallow enough not to disturb the precious life in the established, deeper parts of the soil...

Regards,
D

The Helpful Gardener
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I till once. The very first time I prep a bed. That's it.

If you are maintaining a good organic soil, that's all you need. Compaction is more a function of chemical soils (or driving or heavy foot traffic); the lack of fungal mass and bacterail polysaccharides makes the soil come out of aggregation and "plate" (the silts and clays lay flat on one another instead of sticking in congregated clumps). Soil porosity (what we are going for when we till) is more about good biology (especially fungi) than mechanics...

Look at it this way; when we make bread, what opens and fluffs the bread? Yeast, a fungi (which came from the soil in the first place, so this "analogy" is really pretty apt). The fungal hyphae spread throughout the medium (bread or soil), opening pores and allowing space (for gasses in bread, for roots water, and gasses in soil). It is the very same process in either case...

Tilling destroys fungal hyphae. Once broken they stop growing; notice if you mess bread around too much, it deflates, or how salt can mess with yeast. Tilling is useful in intial prep, but yearly tilling just promotes further compaction by destroying fungi and pulverizing soil.

[url=https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd/newsletter/notill.htm]No till agriculture[/url] is starting to get looks form even the pros; so try it at home and save the effort. Better for the planet, better for your garden, better for your back... :wink:

HG
Scott Reil



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