Confused?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by leigha, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

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    I'm so confused!! Let me tell you all what we want to do, and hopefully you all will be able to set me straight. We want to buy something to mow about 2 acres a week, till our 50' x 100' garden and help with the ruts in our 100' driveway. We don't want new and pretty. We want to spend less than $1000. Do we need something with a rear PTO to drive a tiller? Can a pull behind tiller do the job? Do any of the older model garden tractors, like Suburbans, Simplicity have rear PTO or did they just use pull behind. We have a pull behind cultivator that we hooked up to our riding lawn mower, and it just didn't seem to tear up the garden plot the way we hoped even with my husband standing on it. Do we need a 3 point hitch? How much horse power should I be looking at? I know $1000 is not much, but there are a lot to choose from in our local trader paper if I just knew what I needed. There are Cub Cadets, Craftsman garden tractors, Farmall Cubs, Simplicity, Suburban, Wheel Horse. I just need to know what I need. I've done research, but can't seem to find the right answers. Please help. I don't want to spend the money only to find out I didn't buy the right machine for the job. Thanks.
     
  2. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

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    Well, you just successfully described three unique needs with three different (usually) solutions.

    Mowing is "easy", any small garden tractor can do that. Simplest is to get one with a "slung" deck (under the tractor). A 18-19hp Simplicity would be great for that.

    Tilling is tougher. Most small tractors do not have a PTO of any size or strength. Tilling something that is rocky, tough, or hilly will be trouble with these smaller tractors. You might be better served with a large Troybilt. Some people swear by pull behind tillers, I've never seen one that worked worth a darn. Come to think of it... I haven't seen ANY lately.

    Driveway. None of these can help much with your driveway. Though all little tractors can have either front or rear blades, their weight and torque are all to low to make any significant difference (read: elbow grease and a tough spade are better).

    I guess what I'm saying is, if you can find something to solve #1 and #2 above for $1,000, buy it and RUN home.

    Just my $0.02,

    R
     

  3. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have a small "garden tractor" with PTO its old 1970's wheelhorse 16hp hydrostatic...the tiller attachment alone was $600...tractor was around $1000 10years ago...
    It has a mower deck too...the pto belt does jump off from time to time :grit:
    Anyway I also have one of those mini tiller that I have used on the size garden you have and it actually does quite well...its like 33cc ryobi about $150...I love that thing!!!
    A neighbor should be able to till for you for $40 - 50....Thats what I paid for new ground to be tilled...

    I also have a simplicity 5211 from 1987 that still runs like a top...my son uses it as "his" tractor.....
    If you can find a rider with a bagger attachment...it makes great compost material fast and easy!
    I'd go with the rider mower and small tiller in that price range....unless of course you find a steal!!!
     
  4. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I agree I am asking for a lot of work for under $1000. MPILLOW, is your Ryobi tiller the kind with its own engine or is it just pulled behind relying on weight? I see these websites with older garden tractors with all these attachments. I think that's what we would like, but if they won't get the job done even on small scale then we'll just have to do without. P.S The garden is not new ground, been worked the last two years, and the chert driveway is flat with 3 or 4 8" deep potholes, not a really big deal. Tell me again what the problem is with a Farmall Cub, no PTO, no 3 PTH, not enough horsepower?
    I have to run to the store. Will not be able to respond for a couple of hours.
    Thanks.
     
  5. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    There is a tow implement known locally as a 'middle buster'. It is two disc blades (14 to 16 inch diameter), set about 20 degrees diagonal from centerline. Pulled, it will eventually break up garden soil. Weight can be added if your soil is tough.

    For the driveway, if it is ruts that need to be smoothed, a simple wooden pallet drug behind a riding mower will also eventually cure that problem. To smoothe the garden area after ripping it up is to get a 6 foot square of chain link fence, add a stiff rod to the end that attaches to your tow vehicle, drag repeativley.

    Obveiously this can be done by a large lawn tractor.
     
  6. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

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    I dont know about tractors, but my pepere used to smooth our long lane by dragging an old bedspring up and down it behind the lawn tractor. He'd bungee cord a couple of old tires to the bedspring for added weight, along with a few adventurous grandchildren and off we would go. It was another one of those things we werent suppose to let mom and memere see us doing. As for the grass, we use goats. :sing:
     
  7. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The mini tiller is like this:

    http://www.mastergardening.com/too-5006.html

    I paid alot less...brand new!....I think if you look around you will find them cheaper!

    We fill in potholes with 1inch or less gravel and then drag with a bed spring with pallet and cement blocks (and a kid or two wanting a ride :monkey: ) Our driveway is about 250 yds long..lots of potholes!

    My neighbor has rigged a plow blade to his little Simplicity for snow....
     
  8. dragonflyz9C

    dragonflyz9C Well-Known Member

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    Do you really need to mow 2 acres a week? I don't intend to sound snooty about this, I just was wondering if you could find an alternative to mowing so much...

    I have always wondered why some people feel the need to have a manicured lawn. I prefer to see the wind blowing in the tall grass... do you have something that can graze on the grass? (Again... I'm not meaning to judge... just wanting to understand). :confused:
     
  9. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We mow 2 acres....the children need a place to play!!! The goats get tied out to trees but even fencing the garden doesnt always work....they are very persistent.....and kids playing in wet poo poo is YUCK...the dog crap on the lawn is more than enough to deal with!!!
     
  10. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

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    We have the same situation as MPILLOW. The goats and chickens take care of the rest of our property. It is not 2 acres square. It's 20' x 100' in front of the house, 50' x 100' on the side of the house, the strip to the shop, the strip to the barn, etc, etc. We're planting much to wildflowers this year, but we still need to mow some. We have 3 children under 7, and running around without goat poo/chicken mess is a plus. Thanks for info on tiller. I talked to a guy earlier who has a JD 110 (not for sale), but gave me much info. His tiller runs off the belt that drives the mower, with the mower taken off, of course. Sounds like what I need, now I just need to find it. I'm open to more suggestions.
     
  11. rr

    rr Active Member

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    Do you do your own wrenching? That will matter a great deal when it comes to what you can get by with.
    Knowing where you are would help -- how much of a challenge the soil is, what kind of grass and how rough the mowed area is. It might also provide a clue about what kinds of garden tractors were popular enough in your region to mean there are used parts available nearby.
    You've gotten some good suggestions but you have to be able to live with the extra time that lighter-duty approaches like dragging chain link fence will add to a job -- not that that's necessarily a bad thing.
    Liftable hitches and rear PTOs mean more money -- and more things to break. And more capabilities. Don't worry too much if you just can't afford them.
    Try to talk to people in your area with similar properties and needs to narrow down the possibilities before you commit your money.
    Having more than one machine is bad because it's another engine to take care of. But it's good because maybe you can have 2 machines that will back each other up to some extent -- two that will pull a garden cart and drag a chain harrow, for example, even though only one mows.
    Anyway, if you can do maintenance and repairs and don't get too tired of it, and your property isn't really harsh and you're a little lucky, you can definitely do what you want for $1,000.
    Good luck.
     
  12. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    We hire out the tilling and brush hogging. After running the numbers, we can pay a lot of fifty dollars an hour before we make one tractor or implement payment, and the best part is, if he breaks a belt or cracks a PTO shaft (like he did a few years ago), it's his problem, not mine. Takes him about 40 minutes to make two passes on 1/4 acre and about three hours to brush hog about 5 or 6 acres. That's about $200 a year and WAY less work and worry for us.

    Between the front yard, orchard, and back yard, we mow about 2 acres as well, with a PofS (can I type that?) Murray 21 horse, and it looks terrible every time, not to mention how bad it is on the grass. I would suggest you hire out your big stuff and spend the $1000 on a good old John Deere (not the new ones from Home Depot).
     
  13. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Geez, for a 1000 bucks I'd want it to have a snow blower too.
     
  14. FarmboyBill

    FarmboyBill Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Youd bhe lucky tgo bhuy a gtood onje for a granjd,then youd still have to buy a plow, disc and harrow. Id recommenjd a GOOD Sears David Bradly, with plow disc and harrow. You ought to be able to get that under a grand and its a GOOD impliment
     
  15. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Don't neglect E-bay. You can find some really good garden tractor deals there.

    PTO's. Very few garden tractors have a rear pto. In fact, they are quite rare. They are also frequently proprietary designed, so they are only compatable with a specific impliment or two. Same with the hitch.

    Tillers. A good walk behind tiller of the rear tine variety can till a garden like yours in short order without exhausting you. PTO driven tillers behind a garden tractor do not till as well or as deep generally. Pull behind self powered tillers do better than the small pto driven units, but still lack the tactile control of the walk behind units. Fears of tilling far exceed the actuall work involved with tilling, even with the front tined walk behind units. Keep the tines sharp, the job isn't bad at all. I find it far more cost effective to use a good old walk behind tiller.

    Garden tractors. Most are fake. They are toys sold as a tool. Real ones are old cub cadets, wheel horse, gravely and the like. They are very heavy (half ton or so), have a solid frame, large rear tires, etc. Watch the rear weight and make sure the machine is heavy enough to have traction to do the job.

    Driveways. You say you want to keep yours in shape. As a generic rule, even garden tractors are too light to really handle scraper blades. You can't move much, and you can't move it deep. Much of this is a function of the weight of the garden tractor. The lighter the garden tractor, the more easily it spins its wheels without moving the dirt. When you're all done battling it, many times a shovel and wheel barrow would have been faster and easier. That said, something like a Gravely or old Cub Cadet can indeed pull quite a bit of dirt with a blade.

    Mowing. Big units tend to have big decks. Makes manuevering through trees and shrubs and the like more difficult. Older (cheaper) units tend to have cruder mowing decks, which will scalp and cut into the ground more.

    I've got 4 acres myself, lots of hills slopes, trees, shrubs, fences and the like. I've had a number of pieces of equipment or toys over the years here. This is what I've had and learned.

    Ford 8N with a mower, it was pretty useless. Couldn't manuever around, tore the ground up constantly with the mowing deck. Plowing the garden was a joke.

    Old Simplicity Broadmore riding mower/garden tractor. Front engine, so there's no weight over the rear tires. Can't go up a hill, can't cross a hill. Pretty mowing pattern, but those turf rollers get caught on everything.

    Old MTD (Montgomery Wards) garden tractor/riding mower. Front engine, large tires. Works quite well actually. I bought it several years ago to beat senseless for a year. It keeps chugging along. 4' deck seems to work well for me. Larger and I have lots more problems getting around the place. Not much towing ability, can't push snow worth a darn.

    Snapper riding mower. Don't laugh. With the engine on the back they can pull like mules. Little tires, but they're so light they don't sink down and get stuck. Crude, rough as a cob, but they keep going and going and going.

    David Bradley (walk behind 2-wheel "tractor"). Darn handy unit sometimes. Put the little scraper blade behind it and it's like having a powered shovel. Discs, plows, and all sorts of impliments exist for these machines,and they work pretty well. And since the downward pressure is controlled by the handles, it's pretty easy control. This is a good spot to bring up horsepower. Our Bradley has a 1 hp engine, and works quite well. As for garden tractors, 10 is really quite adequate. It's more a matter of gearing and traction than engine power.

    Snow blower. Dang, why didn't I do this years ago. Nothing at all beats a snow blower when it comes to moving snow. Nothing comes close.

    Rear tine tiller, walk behind. I can till the world before breakfast. Heck, I did grandpas garden (roughly the same size as yours) before he got his coat on and walked up the hill.

    Front tine tiller. Rough ride, sure gives you a workout, but it's more nimble in tight areas than a rear tine unit.

    Mantis tiller. Perfect for small flowerbeds and the like.

    Got a truck? Got a hitch on it? Consider impliments that can attach to that hitch. I haven't done it, but I look at it in think about it. I even think about a category I 3-point hitch that can slip into the receiver hitch on the truck some times.