My Mantis Tiller Came Today:)

Took me about an hour to get it all ready to go. It indeed looks like pretty good quality here on this machine. I only found one thing that worries me a bit and that's the little plastic choke. Sure doesn't look like it would hold up very long but I guess time will (till) or is that tell? LOL All in all, if it performs as well as this little unit looks, then I think I made a good purchase. Too bad I have a foot of snow in the yard or I might not have been able to resist the temptation to give it a spin.
Rich
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White_Noise snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (EVP MAN) wrote:

I'd guess a snow throwing attachment could be in the works.
:))
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


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On Feb 13, 2:36 pm, White snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (EVP MAN) wrote:

We had one for many years and never had problems with the little plastic choke. It was still there when the engine finally died of old age. We bought a new one immediately as it's a wonderful tool. We have a large, rear-tine tiller for the big stuff but the Mantis is good for weeding between rows. I have the trencher attachment which I use every spring to clear out the rows for the potato planting.
Paul
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Thanks Paul, I do feel better now about the plastic choke. I have about 150 sq. ft. of sod to remove and I'm having trouble trying to decide if I should use the Mantis or dig and remove the sod by hand. At 61 and not in very good health, digging sod is really tough for me. But on the other hand, I'm afraid if I till the sod that I will be getting tons of weeds and grass growing in the garden. I'm wondering if there would be a way to use my Mantis that would just rip up the sod so I could just rake it away and then go back and till the garden over again for planting. I just don't know what to do because I don't want weeds and grass and I hate to even think of all the work removing the sod by hand. I have to make some kind of decision real soon because I must have the garden ready no later than April 15. I have asparagus crowns arriving on that date and I need to be ready to plant them! Rich
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White_Noise snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (EVP MAN) wrote:

150 sq ft is about the size of a child's bedroom (like 12' X 12'), not a very large area. The Mantis is not good for tilling virgin land, especially sod, it will struggle and probably prematurely break down. Were it me, for a small patch like you have I'd go at the sod with a spade, cut it into whatever size sections you can handle and pile them root side up on a tarp in the sun so they can dry. Then with hefty garden gloves crumble off as much of that rich top soil as you can into a wheelbarrow (a lot easier on ones back not doing this directly on the ground), pick out stones as you go too, a couple of plastic contractor's buckets are great for hauling off the rocks (I toss them into my creek for erosion control). Once the sod is removed then till with the Mantis) depending on your soil you may want to loosen it a bit with a garden fork, removing stones as you go.... till again and rake picking out stones as you go. Then add back the top soil from the sod and till that in. Finally with a garden hose wash off the last of the top soil from the sod clumps into the edge of your tilled bed... then place the cleaned sod clumps into a composter. I go through this procedure every time I plant a tree or whatever.... your tiny plot is no biggie and no rule says you have to do it all in one fell swoop... I'd say it's like six hours labor tops start to finish, from collecting your tools, cleaning up, and putting everything away. If you don't feel up to it then do like two hours worth each day, but I bet once you begin you will finish in one day, my six hour estimate is very conservative. I've done exactly what I described hundreds of times. I built my vegetable garden the same way and it's a 50 X 50" area... at first I made it 50' X 25', but then the next year I doubled it. Only thing I'll emphasize is that having a couple-three of like 12' X 12' heavy weight plastic tarps before you begin is imperative, hardly ever fails that in the middle of that job it begins to rain, actually a deluge... you need to cover your dirt or you'll lose it all. Also if you're doing this some distance from your house bring a folding chair with you, it's nice to have a place to take ten, bring a couple towels too, you're gonna sweat. There are other options too... you may simply want to hire someone with a big tiller to break it all up for you... don't worry about the weeds, no matter how long you garden there will always be weeds, there are ways to deal with weeds later... anyone who goes into gardening thinking they'll only need to get rid of weeds and sweat once had better do like crossword puzzles instead. If weeding gives you nightmares do not, let me repeat, do NOT plant asparagus... dincha ever think why 'sparaguys cost as much as they do... asparagus growing is very labor intensive. If you're going into this venture thinking you're going to save money you will be extremely disappointed... those are going to be the most expensive asparagus you ever ate... and you had better really, really love getting down into the the soil on your hands and knees and sweating your butt off for never ending hours. You already invested more than $300 just for a tiller... do you realize how many asparagus you can buy for $300... you need to enjoy gardening for the satisfaction of doing something yourself, home gardening is a hobby, it's not to save money, no hobby is to save money, a hobby is not a business.
I suspect you have like zero experinece with gardening or you'd not be asking for suggestions for how to create a tiny planting bed... I think you had best think your asparagus bed through more carefully, keep in mind that asparagus you grow yourself will not be any better quality than those you can buy at the stupidmarket, and you won't reap many from that small plot. I've had my own asparagus plot, but I'd much rather buy my asparagus. I'd want to plant stuff that will yield better quality than I can buy like tomatoes, cukes, and snow peas, and that I can't easily buy locally like various peppers, oriental eggplant, sugar snap peas, and pattipan squash. I'd think very carefully before dedicating that bed to asparagus... it's still not too late to cancel your asparagus crown order... if you're not in great physical shape at 61 years old you're not going to improve as time passes, asparagus growing is VERY labor intensive. If you were like in your 30s with no debilitating health issues I'd not disuade you, I'd let you learn about asparagus growing the hard way like I did... growing strawberries is much easier but still back breaking, I gave those up too. If you want a dedicated garden plot plant blueberries, those require minimal labor... I gave up fully 1/3 of my vegetable garden to blueberries, I'm so happy I did... and blueberry bushes require zero weeding. Good luck.
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My garden will be around 230 sq. ft. total. I already dug some by hand but I have another 150 sq. ft. to go. It will be a straight wide row 4 1/2' wide and around 55' long. The asparagus will only use up the bottom 12' of my bed. The crowns I ordered are Jersey Giant. They are a hybrid and all male crowns so that should help cut down on the weed problem when no female plants are in the bed. At least I hope it will. You gave me some very good advice and I'm going to deal with the sod just like you advised. I would sure hate to ruin my new tiller on the sod. I'll just do a little each day and work slowly at it. My legs are bad and I can only stand for 10 to 15 minutes at a time before I need to sit down for a rest. I used to love to hunt and fish for trout but I'm pretty much home bound now. That's why I decided to make vegetable gardening my new hobby and why I'm keeping the sq. footage small. I spent quite a bit of money so far buying lots of gardening equipment including a compost tumbler which I got late last summer. I'm all set up to grow my plants from seed indoors to plant in my garden. Since it will now be my only hobby, I look at it as money well spent. You never get your money back spent on any hobby but I guess it's really the relaxation and enjoyment your really paying for in the long run. Every year from now on, I should only need a couple bags of general purpose vegetable garden fertilizer. Last year I grew a dozen and a half tomato plants. I got the seedlings from a local nursery and they really done great! That's when I got bit with the garden bug and decided that this year I wanted to grow not only tomatoes but all the other veggies I like. My wife said: your not going to tear up the yard are you? I said HELL YES, I'd much rather grow vegetables than grass!!! :)
Thanks again for all the excellent information you gave me............ Rich
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On Sat, 20 Feb 2010 14:10:00 -0500, White_Noise snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (EVP MAN) wrote:

Where do you live... I don't mean post your address, your general location.
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I'm in central Pennsylvania :)
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I do a bit at a time and sit down often. I odn't do it because of any problems, but because I love pottering in my garden. I have all sorts of spots where I can sit in the shade or the sun and just mooch around.
You'll get there. 5 productive minutes in the garden each day will all add up and you'll get some really good results by working that way.
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