what do you think of mantis tillers?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by featheremma, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. featheremma

    featheremma New Member

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    i am needing a tiller for a very small veggie garden...does anyone have information about mantis tillers?...i am in north carolina and will be adding compost to the clay soil...thanks for any help you can give me...thought the mantis might be easy to use..
     
  2. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    I have a Mantis and a big Honda tiller. The mantis is great for weeding, digging holes, churning up compost, and for tilling small areas. It's not so great at turning lawn into growing space, but I suppose it could be done if you were determined. It all depends on your soil. It's sort of a pain because you have to pull the tiller towards you instead of walking it along like you do with other tillers.

    My husband mounted a five-pound weight plate onto mine to give it a bit more weight to allow it to dig better. He did the same thing for our neighbor and she thinks it improved the performance also.
     

  3. Medic24

    Medic24 New Member

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    Agree with above, kinda light for larger chores, but then again it is not built or marketed for larger chores. Actually this month's Consumer report's has an article about these tillers, and Mantis and Honda rank very high!
     
  4. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Once the area is dug up the first time, the Mantis is great. It's pretty easy to use, fairly light weight and easy to handle. It won't pull you all over the yard, and it breaks the soil matter up very very fine, so it makes nice beds.

    BUT, it's really tough to break up sod and hard packed clay. You may even want to use a pitchfork to prep the area first (if it's never been a garden before.) Then use the Mantis for everything else.
     
  5. brosil

    brosil Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm on my third Mantis. I tried a Troybuilt to break up my sod and it bounced off. The Mantis takes awhile but it works great.
    I'd like to get one of the electric ones for breaking up the sheep manure before I shovel. There wouldn't be so many gas fumes.
     
  6. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Something I always wondered about; what do the Mantis tillers cost?
     
  7. jkillen

    jkillen Well-Known Member

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    We got a Mantis last year and it is great. My wife uses it to till up land to
    lay grass and I use it to till up the garden and dig holes. As everyone else
    has said it takes a while to till a large area but we just keep at it, I guess
    we just hard headed. I think it digs holes great. I till up a little spot then
    just screw it into the ground then dig out the loose dirt and screw some
    more.

    We're in NC too and the only problem I have had is big rocks getting
    stuck between the tines but a quick wack with the shovel fixes that
    right up.
     
  8. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    I wanted a mantis last year, I ended up buying the...other one :confused: I cant even think of the name!
    It has a 4 cycle engine, no mixing gas and oil , and I LOVE it. It starts right up first pull, it chops through everything, Ive tilled new garden beds with it through sod.

    Vortine? I honestly cant think of the name of it and Im too lazy to go out and look! :haha:
     
  9. MoCrafter

    MoCrafter Well-Known Member

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    We bought a Mantis 6 years ago. It works great in my flower beds, or small areas. I'm not too crazy about having to walk backwards, so I just use it in small areas. We paid $400 when we bought ours, but like I said, that was 6 years ago. We had really wanted a small Troy, but settled for the Mantis. The very next year, we bought an 8H Troy and paid almost $2000 for it. Both of these tillers have been worth their weight in gold.

    Winona
     
  10. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    If it is a small garden, why not consider lasagna-style deep mulch? We left tilling behind years ago and haven't missed it at all--but we don't market garden. We have clay soil and started by layering right on top of the sod. This method gets a new bed going with much less work than any other method we have used and it is very effective on our beds (largest is about 30 feet long and under 5 feet wide, others are roughly 6 x 10 feet or 12 x 12). There have been some great discussions on no-till gardening on this site.

    I never knew you had to walk backwards with a mantis. That is different.
     
  11. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    Ours was right around $300.00
     
  12. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I love my Mantis once it is started but it can sure be a booger to start...irks me when I have to get my DH to get it running. Love the way it kicks these Missouri rocks right out and great for raised beds. Know our Troybilt Horse is too much for me to handle which is why we went to raised beds. DEE
     
  13. oneditto

    oneditto Member

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    Go check out rental stores for their used tool sales...I work in a rental yard and they are seldom used and sell for about 30-40% off
     
  14. featheremma

    featheremma New Member

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    thanks so much for all the input about mantis tillers...guess i will go ahead and get one...the past two years my neighbor has tilled for me, so from all of your input, the area should now be ok to use the mantis on...about 30 years ago in florida i had a front tine tiller that wore me out when i used it...couldn't handle that at my age now...haha...didn't know i had to walk backwards with the mantis...that should be fun to do since i have enough trouble walking straight!!!...good thing i won't be tilling on a hill!!!!!...i could probably just double dig the garden and not even worry about getting a tiller, but i have really poor soil around my cabin now since all the good stuff got dug up when they built and now i think a tiller would help with improving the soil with compost and leaf mulch...never knew i should have told them to scrape off the top dirt and put it off to the side...am learning how to work with this north carolina soil...sure is different from florida!!!...appreciate all the input...
     
  15. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I borrowed my dads mantis once-never agin. He is an immaculate man, so of course it was in perfect condition. Hesaid it was a pain to start. Boy he was right. It is so lightweight, it bounces right off the dirt. And if the dirt is wet, forget it. It sucked so bad, I wanted to smash it. I'll buy ahundred garden weasels before I would ever buy a mantis.
     
  16. bob vadnais

    bob vadnais New Member

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    The mantis tiller is a very good choice my wife and i have one and wouldn't trade it for the world
     
  17. bob vadnais

    bob vadnais New Member

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    My wife and our family moved from Upper Michigan to Alaska for work its a long story but were going to move to Maine when school is out she is the guidenace councler there we would like information on homesteading there we have homestead for over 10 years so were not new. We think were going to the northen part at lease we hope to. If any one is thinking Alaska e-mail us
     
  18. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

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    I have a Mantis. I love it. Mine isn't hard to start at all, but I do have to take apart and clean the carburator every spring even though I run it until empty each winter. I live in GA, the red clay capital and it will bounce around when you first start, but once it make a couple scratches and has something to hold on to, it digs right in. I have Rheumatoid asthritis and Fibromyalgia, so the vibration does get to my hands after an hour or so of using it. I paid about $300. for mine in 2000.
     
  19. Jackpine Savage

    Jackpine Savage Well-Known Member

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    Mrs. Jackpine Savage here-
    I have had a Mantis tiller for many years and love it. I think I paid around $300 for it about 10 years ago. I gardened in Florida until this year and the Mantis did a great job in the sandy soil there. It was a great tool for me because I am a small woman and could not handle the larger tiller.

    However, as much as I loved the Mantis, I wound up using chicken tractors to build up new garden beds- I would leave the tractors in one place for several weeks, adding fresh bedding, grass clippings, and other organic matter every day or two. The chickens would scratch up the ground, then mix the bedding and manure in as it was added. Once the bedding was about 14 inches deep I moved the tractors and the new beds were ready for planting (I used the square-foot gardening method and would just add some potting soil/compost with the seed or around the roots of transplants- by the time the roots grew out of the potting soil/compost into the surrounding bedding the bedding had composted enough so that the nutrients were available for the plants' use). I had great beds- hardly had to fertilize, saved on watering, and rarely had weeds.

    I rarely had any problems starting mine, even after it sat for awhle. Another reason why I like it is that I could use it at rental properties for edging the grass along driveways and sidewalks, not that this would be of use to most homesteaders, lol!
     
  20. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    I just wanted to add that you don't HAVE to walk backwards with the Mantis, but it doesn't do all that much digging if you just walk along with it like you do with a regular tiller. It just sort of runs along the top of the dirt (maybe that's just MY dirt, I don't know).