What type of rototiller to get?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mountaineer, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking for a used rototiller- walk behind style. Not sure what HP, what brands have a good name....
    I do want it to go as deep as possible. It's for turning pasture into veggies and then of course tilling in manure. I have reed canary grass so I need to till deep just to set it back long enough for me to begin controlling it by hand!
    Thought I'd ask here first before talking to a dealer.
    BTW- I have a Mantis/Little Wonder tiller. Now don't get me wrong I love it- but I need something better (stronger/wider and deeper) for this project.

    THANKS for any ideas!!
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    We have a Troy Bilt. Get the electric start.
     

  3. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    I also have a troy bilt. 6 hp. Love it and recommend it.
     
  4. bill177

    bill177 Member

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    I have a 48" tiller behind my tractor. Love it!

    I have arthritis and the walk-behind would be impossible for me. My Mantis is OK for a half hour or so - more than that and I am done for a couple of days.

    Right now I am rebuilding my garden with dirt from the woods. Without the tractor, tiller, and loader I would only be dreaming about this while looking at the seed catalogs.
     
  5. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have an Ariens 7hp rear tine. We have tried out the neighbor's Troy Bilt and find it much more akward to use, and wouldn't consider getting one. If we were going to get a new one, would would like at the BCS/Mainline units and all of the assecories/attachments available.

    No mattere what you get, be sure to try it, or the same model, on your land, in your soil and conditions.
     
  6. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For breaking new ground I can't say enough about our Husqvarna 5hp Honda engine, counter-rotating, rear tined tiller.
     
  7. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    I have one too and would recommend it to a walk behind if you have enough room. I don't have to get all the grass out of the tines on it like a do the walk behind.

    Not to hijack the thread but it might influence his decision on which tiller to get...

    Is there any easy way to get all the grass out of the tines? I have been using a box cutter on the wad of grass. There has to be a better way.... I spend the same amount of time cleaning out grass as I do tilling ?
     
  8. pasotami

    pasotami Hangin out at the barn!

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    I have a Troy Horse and I have hard rocky ground, no way to break ground with it but it is great after a plow hit the ground. I use mine in a huge garden to beat the weeds, it's much better than my hoeing. My aging father could not handle his any more and bought a small Kubota rototiller to fit his small tractor. He love it and breaks ground in Texas (sandy loam). I have his here in TN and it is for sale. I just do not need two.
     
  9. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    We have a 6.5 HP Troy Bilt rear tine tiller with the tillers that rotate in the opposite direction that the thing is pulling to give a deeper till. We have VERY HARD clay soil and it works great. We love it and it can be operated with one hand without it jumping all over the place.
     
  10. Scomber

    Scomber Well-Known Member

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    Reed Canary? Dream on. You need more than a walk behind tiller. For breaking up sod, I like to dig through it with a subsoiler tooth that goes down 12", then mulch the hell out of it with dead crabs and horse stable cleanings. With reed canary grass, the first thing you want to do is push it over too. Don't mow it, because that just gives it a signal to grow more. Push it over and make the leaves atrophy under the mulch, drawing power out of the roots.

    This all depends on your soil type too. I've seen reed canary as a problem in the Tacoma WA area, and that's where I learned about pushing it over. Here in Maine I don't have a problem with it, but breaking sod in my heavy clay soil is difficult and not something I'd trash a rototiller on. The old Troybilt Horse just bounced over the surface of the sod without effect until I used heavier tillage and gave the sod time to rot.

    Dan
     
  11. kaeko2003

    kaeko2003 Well-Known Member

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    Farmer, where do you live? I have a Troy Bilt Pony that I need to sell. It is an 89 model but has only been used about 5 times so the tines are like new. It has had the oil changed every year even thought it is in storage. I paid $900 for it and just want a fair price for it now. PM me if you are close enough or are interested. It is a real go getter and I love it but I now live in town so I have no use for it. I have been hanging on to it just in case I might move backk to the country.
    Carol
     
  12. AnnieOakley

    AnnieOakley NRA

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    I wish you lived Close by. We have a brand new Troy Bilt (used 10-15 minutes) that we are going to sell. Paid 550.00 plus tax for it, selling it for 350.00.
    It's just too much machine for me.
     
  13. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone. I'm in BC so I do need to search local. The soil is silty/clay. No rocks, but it is heavy and moist, it clumps.
    Tractor attachments aren't possible at this point.
    Yeah reed canary is a joke to work with. I did about 10 passes with my Mantis, planted seeds, and the grass was an inch up before the seeds sprouted- so the garden was trashed.
    I will try pushing it over/mulching. That's why I wanted to start next years garden right now. Fight it through fall, then start fresh next year with weekly hoeings. It's a lot of work but I've done it- it works well.
     
  14. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Ever thought of covering it with black plastic. It's a bit late in the year now but you should probably still get some days that are hot enought to kill it pretty quickly.
     
  15. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Actually clear plastic is the way to go when solarizing. Black only heats up the surface and burns foliage, while clear actually cooks into the upper layer of soil.
    I've tried it this late in the season with limited results. We could have frost in as little as 3 weeks. I think getting it under and into the dark would be better, in this case. And pulling up fresh, unexposed soil to the surface.

    Black plastic could work in the other way by killing it through darkness, but wouldn't kill the seeds...
     
  16. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You'll need to either cover it with black plastic until it dies, or spray it with herbicide and kill it. You could turn the ground over with a big moldboard plow, and it would come right back up. It you don't kill the grass it will never stop growing. It has roots that go down over seven feet.
     
  17. Macybaby

    Macybaby I love South Dakota Supporter

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    I just gotta add my two cents worth.

    If you get a troy bilt, find an older one before MDT bought them out. The newer ones (think like 5- 6 years) are not even close to the same machine the old ones were.

    I do a lot of ground breaking tilling. Dreamed of having a Troybilt for years, then finally got one in 2000. Total POS machine for about $500. Now they have counter-rotating tine, so that will help with the "drag you off your feet" problem.

    I won't go into all the problems I had during the three years I tried to come up with some way to make it work, but right now it's sitting in the shed and hubby plans on taking the tines off and using the engine for our back well. He can wheel it out to fill the cistern, and wheel it back into the shed.

    My new tiller(bought this spring) is a Craftsman double rotation monster. It has both counter and forward rotation, and both are a must for the tilling work I do. The counter will cut right through the sod, and dig down no problem. Once the ground is worked up, I switch to forward or the machine will not even move forward in counter rotation mode.

    This machine also has a neutral position, so the wheels will "freewheel" in this position. Some machines the only way to "free wheel" is to pull coter pins on the wheels. Not fun trying to hold a large machine up on one side so you can pull the pin and move the wheel.

    Mine is not electric start, but that has never been a problem for me. I also have a small Lawnbow front tine machine, and I love that one for gettting into tight places. I can pick that one up and place it where it needs to be. Won't say I can carry it around, but I can lift it into a flower bed (or car trunk).

    I love my new tiller as much as I grew to hate my old one.

    However, I love to break up new sod and plant new flower/garden beds. If you have a nice worked up bed, what I have would probably be overkill.

    Cathy

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Macybaby- what model is that?
    I'm somewhere on the fence with craftsman. I have had good/bad luck with their tools. But I'd like to look that one up and compare it to others mentioned here- craftsman seems to be reasonably priced.
    Thanks!!!
     
  19. Macybaby

    Macybaby I love South Dakota Supporter

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    It does not seem to have a model # on it, but it's the 7hp with gear driven tines so you can switch between forward and counter rotation. The Troybilt I have is the Bronco 5.5hp machine. I'm pretty sure the new ones are counter rotating, so that will keep it from pulling you off your feet. This spring I asked around a bit, and discovered that getting pulled off your feet was pretty much SOP for those machines. I tried putting weights on the front to keep it down, and only digging 1" depth at a time, but I finally gave up.

    I thought about buying one of the counter rotating only machines, but after using mine, I am very glad I didn't. Once I got the garden worked up real well, the counter rotating tines caused enough drag that the tires weren't able to pull the machine forward, they just dug into the soft, worked up soil and there she sat. Switching to forward rotation, and it purred right along.

    For an experiment, I did try to break up sod with the forward rotation, and with this much heaveir machine, it never ran off with me, but it digs much better in counter mode.

    The other main thing that I like is having a neutral position. Since most of these machines have the wheels geared to turn much slower than the tines, they don't turn unless the engine is turning. Now, I'm not one to want to start up the tiller to move it out of the way in the shed, and I also don't like traveling the 200' from the shed to the garden at the speed runs in tilling mode.

    In WI, we had pretty decent soil, much softer than here is SD, but I still had no end of problems with the Troybilt. Our soil here in SD gets hard as a rock, so I wanted something that could really pulverize it up. Will be giving the new machine a good workout soon. We have to change the swale around the house to get the water to drain properly, so I'll be tilling it up, and hubby will scrape it with the skidsteer (really old machine without power down, so it does not dig).

    Good luck with getting a tiller. If I had to choose between a front tine or the troybilt I have, I'd go with a front tine machine.

    Cathy
     
  20. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much Cathy! Your help is definately appreciated.