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Tillers, big and small

muddstopper

muddstopper

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I have pretty much ran the gauntlet of tiller sizes over the years. The old front tine 5hp chain driven tiller where all we had back in the 1960's. They where pretty good for smoothing up the soil once it had been plowed, but would beat you to death on hard packed soil or hitting a rock. As time went by, I finally bought a 3pt, 6ft gear driven tiller. Man that sure made prepping a garden fast and the hardest part was hooking the tiller to the tractor. I bought a used southern states rear tine for the hand tilling needs. I finally found a troybuilt red horse rear tine. 8hp beast. It had a few carb issues but once I got that fixed, it cranked and tilled excellent. My biggest problem with it was my garden spot was fenced in and when you got to the end of the rows, it was a beast to turn around because of its weight. Since I sold my house and bought another, I no longer have the need for the big heavy tiller, all my gardening is in raised beds. So enter the new Mantis tiller. Pick it up with one hand and set in the bed. I was given a can of premix fuel with it and haven't used it all yet, so my experience is limited with the Mantis. I don't really like having to pull it backwards to make it dig. I have found that letting the tiller run forward and holding back seems to break up the top layer of soil so that going backwards for the deep till is a little easier. Maybe I am doing it wrong, but something about walking backwards and dragging a tiller thru the soil just doesn't seem right. I suspect the soil in these raised bed isn't that great. It look nice, but it doesn't drain at all. My onions are already rottening in the ground. I have never had that problem before. It is what it is for this year since I don't have time to redo the beds, but I will be mixing in organic material and mulch this season hoping to Improve the soil drainage issues. The mantis is supposed to dig 10inches, but I don't like the way the tines leave gaps of untilled soil and then bottoms out on the frame of the tiller. Never had that problem with any other tiller I have used. Yea I can wiggle the tiller side to side and get rid of those ridges, but that is a lot of dragging and wiggleing to break up the soil. Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong using the Mantis.
 
muddstopper

muddstopper

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I really think it is the soil in the bed. The previous owners built and filled the bed. The dirt looks sandy but has a very clay texture. I have thought about where this dirt may have came from and it occurred to me the State did a wetlands project about a mile from this house. The dirt looks like something that might have been mucked from a swamp. My guess is that the soil contains high levels of magnesium, which pulls and holds moisture. I plan on pulling a sample and having it tested. Magnesium isn't something found in large quantities in my area, but is common is low lying wet areas. I wont be adding anything but organic compost to the beds this year. But I aint opposed to adding store bought fertilizers to bring the soil back in balance. If the soil does contain high levels of magnesium, I will be adding gypsum, (calcium and sulfur) to lower the magnesium saturation levels. I used to have a PH soil probe, but it seems to have gotten lost in the move. A very high ph would also be an indication of elevated magnesium levels. Of course without a soil test, I am just guessing and could be very wrong.
 
rarefish383

rarefish383

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My BIL has his Dad's big Troy Built if I need something that big. My wife's gardening friend is moving to Florida, with no yard, but they do have a boat slip. She had just bought a Troy Built Pony, electric start for $1400, and let me have it for $400. So I bought it. It works well, but I only have a small tomato and pepper patch. It's full sun all day, but it's wedged between her tool shed and a big flower garden. I picked this spot because it's against the privacy fence with the neighbor. I let the cherry tomatoes grow up over the fence so he can pick them too. Anyway, the rear tiller can't get up to the fence, and it's too tight to turn around, so I only till about 2/3 of the patch. Last year my wife had another friend cleaning her garage out and I was volunteered to make a dump run. She tossed a Mantis, said it didn't work. The last thing my wife said when I pulled off was, "Don't you dare take that piece of junk home and put it in "OUR" garage". I didn't have my hearing aids in and missed that part. Took it home and put it in my shed. Put a shot of mix in the carb and first pull it fired up. I think it will work for the T&P patch, and weeding between stuff in the flower beds. It just needs a cheapo china carb.
 
Huskybill

Huskybill

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There ya go.
I had a garden tilling as a side job, I used the gravely with the rotary plow. It was growing every year.
 
alleyyooper

alleyyooper

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Have a 5 foot tiller for thre Bota compact, a Troy built horse and a garden way sort of like th ehorse byt counter rotating tines and a small front tine tiller.

I use the 5 foot with the Bota to do deer food plots the horse and garden way and front tine set in storage. I went from the big traditional garden to 3 4x8 foot raised beds when the kids left home.

But you never know when some things changes and a rear tine tiller is wanted.

Al
 
Huskybill

Huskybill

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Have a 5 foot tiller for thre Bota compact, a Troy built horse and a garden way sort of like th ehorse byt counter rotating tines and a small front tine tiller.

I use the 5 foot with the Bota to do deer food plots the horse and garden way and front tine set in storage. I went from the big traditional garden to 3 4x8 foot raised beds when the kids left home.

But you never know when some things changes and a rear tine tiller is wanted.

Al
What do you plant for deer? My property is a highway for deer to go from the upper water shed to the bottoms. I have planted fruit trees and white clover on a one and one half acre plot. I started mixing in new grass but what grass would be better and how high should I let it grow?
 
alleyyooper

alleyyooper

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I plant Buck Wheat in the spring, and fall I plant rye. I allow the Buck wheat to flower for the bees, I harvest some of the seeds also.

In the Spring I will mow the Rye late June to till in before I plant the buck wheat.

There are lots of deer plot seed you can buy if you want to spend money how ever.

Al
 
Huskybill

Huskybill

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Since I can’t walk behind the gravely anymore I have a 100/creeper tranny cub cadet rider with the rear tiller. I want to make the tiller wider.
 

U&A

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I have a troy built super bronco counter rotating rear tine. At first I struggled with it as im used to old front tines that go hard and fast.

Once i got it figured out now im happy with it. Great machine. Plenty of power. Has reverse and that makes turning around in out fenced in garden much easier.

I rented a front tine that had a honda 8HP on it once. That thing was AMAZING at tearing up sod for a new garden but it was like trying to ride a bull.


Sent while firmly grasping my redline lubed RAM
 
Huskybill

Huskybill

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Nothing beats a gravely L8 8 speed with a rotary plow. It’s so slow in low/low you churn the soil in the same spot twice. Even for med gardens size wise.


For smaller gardens a Troy build will do.

Remember for the best results,

Chicken manure fall, Lyme

Cow / horse manure early spring lyme

If the tomatoes are acids and burn your lips more lyme.
 
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