I'd like some opinions on this whole 'garden tractor' versus
'lawn tractor' business. My old riding lawn mower just went down
for good and I'm looking to buy a replacement. I live on small farm
and need something to do some general mowing (1/2 acre or so, not many
hills) around the house and outbuildings. I also need something that I
could run some small ground-engaging attachments on like a sleeve hitch
cultivator, small plow or harrow for a garden and for breaking up some
weedy ground around my outbuildings to plant some grass into. My soil
is very fine loamy sand-pretty easy to break up.
I'm looking at one of the lower-end John Deere "lawn tractors"
like the 115 or 125. When I asked the local JD dealer about
sleeve-hitch kits for one of these to do this sort of ground-breaking
stuff, I was told that these models "aren't made for that" and that
I needed to get a real "garden tractor" for this sort of thing. Of
course their "garden" and "utility" tractors are several
thousand dollars more than their "lawn tractors." I've
heard/read similar comments in other places.
What's the real story here? I guess I'm wondering whether this is
more of a sales pitch than good advice. I'm sure that a true
"garden tractor" or "utility tractor" would likely do a BETTER
job-as it should since it costs several times more. But can I do an
OK job with the lower-priced "lawn tractors" (without harming the
tractor of course)? So long as I can find a decent sleeve-hitch kit
for the 115 won't this work? The other thing I like about the "lawn
tractors" is their smaller size...with some of those "garden" and
"utility" tractors it makes it tougher to operate in 'tight spots'
around trees, next to buildings, etc.
I guess I'm a little skeptical about this whole "you need a garden
tractor" idea because I know people who have been doing this sort of
thing for years with old Sears 13HP riders with no apparent problems.
And weren't the "garden tractors" of 10 years ago often
less-powerful than the "lawn tractors" of today? I suppose the
larger tire size for traction on the "garden" and "utility" tractors
might also be an issue though...
'Any thoughts appreciated-thanks!