Do any of you gardeners have a tiller??

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Ward Chillington, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    My $20 roadside find gave up the ghost last year and I have decided to buy a new one so I am looking for personal recommendations from any of the other gardeners out there in Brew Land. I don't have a huge garden but I do have a fair deal of clay in my soil so breaking it up and feeding it with compost and such is best done for me with a tiller ......and oh yeah, being a weekend warrior who is getting older is making the the shovel and hoe method look ...and feel, much less feasible!

    Thoughts?
     
  2. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    My old Toro got to be too much to handle, so I went with a Mantis. It is slower, but works well on smaller garden plots. They're available in both 2 and 4 cycle, as well as electric. I've got the 2 cycle and am very satisfied in how it performs, despite its being light weight.
     
  3. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Does Toro make their own engines or is it a B&S??
     
  4. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Mine was a Briggs. Pretty sure that's what they use in all their tillers.
     
  5. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    How big is the garden?
    For bigger gardens a troybuilt is a great lifetime investment.
    If smaller garden those mantis are a great machine for there size. You can get cheaper models from lots of sources but ya get what you pay for.
    I'm cheap so I got a rear tine craftsman for our 5000sq ft. Always have wished I would have sprung for the troybuilt. They are designed well.
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I've got a mantis, it's a lot of work for my previous 24' x 24' garden, getting a much bigger one for my next house, I'm getting into the Husqvarna stuff recently, I really like the brand
     
  7. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    OK, so a bit of a contrarian view here:

    Till your garden once, then never again. Add all the amendments (like 6-8 inches deep of it), work it in, then let it sit for several years, more than 5 at least.

    You see, underground, a bunch of good fungus sets up shop and creates a structure of fungal 'strings'. Breaking these up (by tilling) means they need to regenerate, which takes a year or two, during which time your garden is less healthy and productive.

    So this means that you pile a bunch of organic* material (leaves, grass clippings, peat moss, and sand for clay soils.. whatever you have) several inches deep, then till the snot out of it until it is all well incorporated. Form your rows and hills, and return the tiller to the rental place (about $90/day for a monster rear-tine jobbie, smaller ones are much less). Take the cash saved and buy seeds.

    Full disclosure: I have a front-tine tiller, found in the trash, that's older than I am. This was the year I tilled new organics* into the soil.

    *Organic as in the opposite of inorganic, not as in "pesticide-free / natural / whatever"
     
  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I've never even heard of that, interesting.
     
  9. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    THIS is just one link with no major annoying pop-ups that talks about it. Just search on "why shouldn't I till my garden?" and you'll find dozens.
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I've gardened in the same garden for going on 10 years, if growing and usually it is, I turn the grass over with a shovel then till both directions 6' to 8" deep, then smooth, weed for roots and hill for some crops then string line and hoe and seed, the thing I've noticed the most without losing any soil the garden had dropped at least 4 inches in 10 years
     
  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    My patch is too small for a tiller.
     
  12. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Sure, that is all the organics decomposing. Add 4" of vegetative matter, work it into the soil, and in another 10 years do it again.

    Or maybe it is those pesky worms, eating your dirt??
     
  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I do have black soil and many worms, the birds love my yard
     
  14. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    I'm mostly in the Doronoto camp.
    I used to have a rear tine tiller and ended up selling it.
    I'm fully organic and after raised bed are in place, I top dress, plant and pick. I rarely even water with the exception of new transplants.
    We moved less than a year ago and new gardens aren't in place yet, but I'm excited to get things in place this year.
     
  15. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    I picked up a 16 inch rear tine Craftsmen with my Biden Bucks instead of a 1400$ Troy Built. While I'd love to no till, I have a been working a patch of bottom land clay into something rich. I started using black plastic last year to fight off the weeds and really cannot fathom why I hadn't before!

    So I getting excited with about 60 tomato sprouts started in the cellar and my peppers finally started to germinate!
     
  16. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Very nice!
    Yeah, a tiller is great for when you need to go from 'native soil' to 'useful soil'. By hand is for the birds.

    Black plastic: I use the black plastic woven landscape fabric, about $80 for a 400 Sq Ft roll at Home Despot. It lets water through (unlike poly film) and still blocks most of the weeds. I replace it every 3-4 years as needed and use the 'old' ones for the garden perimeter.

    After I rake and form the rows (18" wide, 6" tall) I add drip irrigation (like this stuff) and lay down the fabric. I cut Xs in the fabric for the plants, use a stapler if needed to hold the opening open, and plant. Some plants like lettuce, carrots and garlic don't work well like this, but others like tomatoes, peppers, beans and cucurbits of all kinds do.
     
    Ward Chillington and Hawkbox like this.
  17. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Yuppers, that black plastic gets the soil warm and gives me a few weeks jump on normal, keeps the moisture in and keeps the weeds down like nobody's business! I took it off last week to dry things out and throw down some compost to till in. Good idea there @Donoroto with the drip...I got some of that from the beds I helped establish here years ago...sounds like a worthy repurposing to me!
     

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