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Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by ne prairiemama, Jan 28, 2011.
We are planting a garden for a family of 10 How do we choose? Thank you!!
What tiller is best for the best price?
I read that to include value for money spent and satisfaction of product and longevity of product.
BCS two wheeled tractor with roto-tiller attachment. Very costly initially but is one of the best tillers for job done and ease of use. Also with it being a tractor you can use other things and attachments with it.
Great resale value. Buy the largest model you can justify for many years of usage.
How much land are you talking about using? You can pick up a good used Ford 9n or Ford 8n for 1,500 and watch local auctions for a set of plows and disks if you are thinking a few acres.
Are you looking for a walk behind or three point hitch?:bored:
I decided on this one after much searching and comparison.
None at all, IMO.
The garden that often served 10 in our family farm was close to quarter-acre without counting the potato and rutabaga areas. Plowed by a team of horses for at least 75 years and then a Ford tractor.
Despite knowing otherwise, my first thought is that an area that big needs something big enough to ride on. But, that Earth Tool tiller could possibly be little more effort than hanging onto the reins on Daisy and Dolly. (Our last two brown mares.) If you plan on having 10,000 square feet or more, that BCS 732 looks real good and you're soil would be of great basic tilth for all of your vegetables.
I can never remember if we have a 9N or an 8N but I do know that a new plow for it is $200 at Tractor Supply- DH was just looking at them yesterday.
We were lucky enough to inherit a huge beast of a walk behind tiller that DH's grandpa bought new back in the 50's or 60's that DH and FIL restored last year that works pretty good too. I can't control it, but the giants I married into manage it pretty well.
I would say buy the biggest used one you can comfortably use and afford.
I used a Troy-Bilt Horse, 8hp Kohler engine for many years, wore out two sets of tine seals and one set of tines. It is sitting now needing a new tine gear overhaul, and I'm thinking of getting it rebuilt. I bought a smaller Husqvarna and it just doesn't do what I want it to do. Your situation and soil may dictate just how big of a brute you want. Here it is very sandy soil, so the Horse churned through it without any fuss or bother. But my age and arthritis made me look for a smaller unit.
I have been using the 9n with a single bottom plow, which is as much strain as I want to put on a 70 year old machine. A disc or a field cultivator, mounted on the three point follows up. But I am getting soil compaction at the basic root depth, so I am wishing for the return of the Horse, which can go deeper.
The BCS unit, if the tines are large enough and the unit is heavy enough, looks pretty good. It has the plus of having other implements that can be attached.
I have a 30 year old Craftsman rear tine walk behind that I wouldn't change for the world. Just had a new motor put on it, but other than routine maintainance, it hadn't needed anything for 30 years. I've plowed everything from a small plot up to an acre sized garden in clay and clay loam. Also used it at my last place to dig a water line and trench run off ditches. I do have to be careful in rocky ground as occasionally a rock gets caught in the tines and removing it can be a challenge, but usually it will just push a rock aside or bump over it. I'm short and getting of an age where I can't handle heavy machinery, but this does me very well. I can usually just operate it one-handed unless breaking new rocky ground. Here's a link to a comparable new one (although mine doesn't have dual rotating tines:
My folks fed us for years with just a standard old Montgomery Wards front tiner and lots of elbow grease from us kids. It wasn't uncommon to have better than half an acre in garden.
But later dad bought a Troy built that lasted from 1979 till he sold it last summer. A few sets of tines and at least one rebuild but the chassis was still in great shape.
We have a Craftsman rear tiner with reversible tines that we like a lot.
If the money was there we'd look at BCS but it's not happening any time soon....
I'm sorry I didn't think of the tractor types until you all mentioned them. Dh said we just need a walk behind for now. When we get more ground then we'll want to look into the bigger ones. We only have 3 acres total right now. The BCS looks really great but is out of our price range right now. We need to get something as good and lasting as we can for not more than $500-$1,000.
The ground we'll be tilling has been grass for a long time, may be some rocks as we live where there's lots of limestone naturally occuring. I think the garden will be around 1/4 to 1/2 acre? I'll ask dh. I know he has more than one spot in mind to till up for different things so maybe more?...
Martin I would love to have a daisy and dolly! Maybe someday!
Thanks for your help everyone. We're new at this so I'm sorry if I sound dumb or ask weird things lol.
One good point about the BCS that it is gear driven so that there are no drive belts to replace. One does need to read the owners manual and heed the section about storage of the unit and blocking the clutch open. I read of more clutch failures than anything else, all because of operator error.
I think the largest model has more gears than the other models which would be a plus.
The tines turn faster on the BCS than on most other tillers. I have run both a BCS (which I own) and a Troy-bilt which I used to think was king of the tillers, and the BCS was by far easier to use and left the soil in better planting condition.
Price is the stopper for many. In some ways I didn't pay for mine as I traded a motorcycle for it and a chipper/shredder. OF course I would have had the MC to sell if I hadn't traded it.
If you are dead-set on tilling why not see if there is someone in your area who does custom tilling and will break the ground for you? Once you get it worked up and planted, use mulch and/or hoeing to keep the weeds down during the growing season.
You could probably pay for several years of spring and fall tilling with the money you have budgeted. May work out better than buying a used or low-budget model that might give you trouble!
One nice thing about having a tiller around during the entire season is tilling up a spot as soon as a crop has finished producing so that a different one can be planted or soil amendments added.
I have tried the Ruth Stout method and it does work pretty well at least for some things. Whatever works is the way to go.
Lucky you if you can get cheap/free mulch close by. Around here they still try to sell the big round bales as hay until they are too rotten to even load. Guess you could go around picking up bagged leaves in city in fall, but gasoline isnt cheap as you would be starting, stopping, getting out and loading, etc. plus gas to get to city and back again. Plus closest city around here picks up leaves and has their own composting effort where they then SELL compost back to their citizens. I doubt they would be thrilled with competition.
I have my eye on a used Troybuilt Horse for 700 dollars that is sitting in a small engine repair shop being sold because the owner died. The shop owner maintained this machine for all it's working life. This is an older model made when they put actual metal in these machines and will till 10 inches deep. I cut my gardening teeth on a Troybuilt Pony 5 horsepower. The original one tilled 8 inches deep and when it finally went to tiller heaven I bought a new Pony only to find the machine greatly cheapened..less weight and only 6 inch tilling depth.
Last year I went to Lowes and bought a shiney orange machine that tills forward and reverse. I am on my second unit as the first one had to be replaced. This machine shifts terribly hard and my hands can't handle it. Gonna have the man at the shop go over it and clean it up and sell it to a man with big hands and get the troy horse that can be steered with one hand and will chop corn stalks into the ground.
My advise is to seek out the repair shops local and see if there is a "gem" sitting in the corner with a service history and some old fashioned metal in it. Troybuilts and Gravleys come to mind.
Forget the tiller attachment, go for the rotary plow attachment. When Ariens discontinued the walk behind Gravely tractors, some Euro manufacturer made a rotary plow attachment for the BCS tractors very simular to the one that used to be offered for the Gravelies. I'd love to be able to try one someday since it fits on rear of the BCS (fit on front of Gravely) , but doubt I'd ever buy a BCS since its expensive and I have 3 old Gravelies that I can keep going indefinitely into the future. Take care of a Gravely and it will last a lifetime, well assuming you can find parts or rig your own. The rotary plow was THE only reason I bought a Gravely in first place. Silly to wear a Gravely out mowing with it when there are lot cheaper machines that mow just as well. And there was a roto tiller attachment to though it was meant to cultivate not plow up sod. I have one and occasionally use it to smooth out ground broke with a tractor and moldboard plow.
The other option is to get one of those tiny 4wd Japanese tractors (Kubota makes them, so do others). They are like 16 to 20 hp, but are a real tractor not cheapie MTD or Sears version. I imagine you could find a little Japanese tractor used cheaper than you can buy a BCS. Not many BCS used out there, lot of the little Japanese tractors. Especially the off brand ones like Iseki though parts availability comes into play. Japanese companies dont support older models very well and neither does the aftermarket.
Either of these will do the work and last you a long time. (Sorry folks but I'm still sold on Craftsman) -- good quality, reasonable price:
All of the metal would have to rust off of our Craftsman tiller before I'd give it up. Then I'd just go buy another one.