need help picking tiller

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by meggie, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. meggie

    meggie Well-Known Member

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    I really could use help with this question. We are getting ready to buy our first tiller and are wondering if the front tine or back tine is best. This will be a first garden here , north arkansas , the soil is rocky and a bit on the clay side.
    So what works for you ? whitch do you think ?
    Thanks :)
     
  2. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Living in southern MO. I can relate to your rocky clay soil....a tiller will not improve it,trust me. Only thing to do is build raised beds and improve the soil in just them. Compost,manure,green manure ....you will NEVER EVER NEVER conquer the rocks--there will be a new crop each spring. I tell you,we put rocks 2' out around a 24' pool one spring and this was from an long established 1 acre garden and just as many the next year. I,personally think trying to till and plant a garden here is a giant waste of your time; you will get better yields from raised beds. Three of our neighbors have followed our example since seeing our beds and they are all so pleased with their results. Plus,no matter where you pick for a garden you will be battling long buried weeds for ages if you till and bring them to the surface. And then there is the weather factor...spring is lovely and you are gung ho but when August arrrives and it is over 100 degrees with humidity to match you will wither....most people hibernate in their air-conditioning!!! Or down to the creek. We have a Troy Bilt rear tine and only use it anymore for furrows for the potato patch. Use our little Mantis alot in the raised beds and for digging tree holes as they will kick out the rocks and you can dig a pretty fine hole by tilling and using a shovel to dig out the dirt and rocks, then repeat. Put in our big orchard that way. This is all just my humble opinion after 18 years of gardening in MO. DEE
     

  3. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    I have a Honda 8 horsepower rear-tine and a Mantis. I think they are both great. Although the Mantis is touted as being able to create a new garden from sod, I think that's a bunch of hooey unless you live somewhere with really loamy or sandy soil. It is, however, really good at weeding between rows or working in flowerbeds where you don't have much room and the ground has been somewhat recently worked. It's also great for shredding up stuff in the compost pile.

    My dad and uncle both had old front-tine tillers. I hated gardening until I bought the Honda.

    P.S. I live in Ohio and have clay/rocky soil also.
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I use a rear-tine tiller.

    I tried a front-tine one once, and once was enough! I am just not big enough to control a front-tine tiller!

    I like having my own tiller because you never seem to get a very good weed kill othe first time I till. I also weeded the walkways between the plants with the tiller about once a month, and it worked pretty well.

    Being rather small and middle aged, I really appreciate having mechanical help in the garden.
     
  5. countryboy01974

    countryboy01974 Well-Known Member

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    I live in western ky. where we also have rocky soil.I have a small tiller a lot like a mantis also a rear tine troy built and a tiller for a tractor.the small tiller is the first i bought it is great for weeding around plants and between the rows.its easy to handle and i have broken new ground with it successfuly it is just slow.if you buy a rear tine make sure to get one with counter rotating tines i didn,t and have regreted it since. I bought a troy built bronco very fitting name for it .It only has forward rotating tines and when breaking new ground it is bad about wanting to get up on the tines and take off they spin twice as fast as the drive wheels do so it will drag you down if you are not careful at the very least it will wear you out . as far as quality goes it is built to last forever I added tractor weights to mine that helped a lot.after I got my tractor with tiller and tilled my garden with it the troy built works fine to till down rows in the already broken soil you can run it with one hand like the commercials show. the tiller on the tractor is by far the easiest for breaking new ground or any ground . but its a bit much to buy for just gardening unless you have a really large garden.
    this is just my experience on tillers I hope it helps.
     
  6. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    I realize you are asking for this year, and my suggestion would be for next year's garden. This year I used 2 piglets as my rototiller. I built a small luggable pen (much like a chicken tractor 4 feet wide, 16 feet long) for them, and move it through my garden. (I'm using the wide row gardening - my rows are 4 feet wide with 3 feet of grass in between.) They till it up, eat all the roots, and fertilize it. (they do root up the rocks, and you will have to pick them up and move them) I will have them butchered in May so I get that benefit also. If you live in the country, I'd suggest a four legged tiller. (Wish I would have done it for the first year I gardened here.)

    I will use a Mantis to mix compost into the garden before I plant.
     
  7. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Rear Tine Troy Built 8 hp model has done a lot of my garden preparation.
    I tried the front tine, and it takes longer, with marginal results and nearly useless in hard clay soil. It was a toy compared to the Troy Built.
    I am trying to get away from tilling methods by lasagne type layer mulch gardening techniques, but when that tiller is needed, it sure does the job. The V hiller attachment is also useful for corn and potato cultivating.
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We have an Ariens rear tine which is a little fast for us. It's a definate improvemnt on the front tine verson though. Clay loam here with rocks, its nasty on most tillers. We just bought a tractor mounted field tiller so we'll use that for the initial pass and the rear tine to fine tune the seed beds.
     
  9. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pat, how do you keep your piggies in? Don't they root themselves right out of a moveable pen? To keep this on topic I will say we have a Husqvarna rear tined counter rotating tiller that does amazing things on our unbroken clay, I'm only 5' 4" but I can break new ground with it using just one hand to guide it. But, on a second pass the thing is much harder - wants to dig in rather than move forward.
    I love that it is self-propelled and has a reverse gear - we have rented tillers in the past that do not.
     
  10. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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