Tiller Question

folks:
i have a couple of flower beds that require tilling. problem is that they are small and significantly clay-ey. so a small tiller will be preferable for the size.
has anyone used the Mantis tiller? it seems small enough to manuver in my beds. my question is that: is it good enough to till the clayey soil? their website claims that it can..has any one on this group tried it?
thanx =b
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beeps wrote:

Won't work in clay or lots of feeder roots. Jumps in the air and tries to fly away from you. I had one for about a year and gave it away, the friend I gave it to wouldn't speak to me for a few months after it lept up and ate his flower bed. Spend another 100 bucks and get a small Troy-Bilt, they work much better and will get the job done.
George
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beeps wrote:

I used a mantis for over 6 years. It is a great little tool for shallow cultivating. Not real good for breaking into hard pack clay soils that have never been cultivated, but very handy for mixing in ammendments in beds that have been shovel turned to loosen the hardpan a bit. I gave mine to sis-in law last year & bought a stihl brand mini tiller to replace it. The Stihl has a bit more power, and has a more comfortable bike handlebar style arrangement. Great tool, but not a replacement for a true HD tiller.
For starting new beds, and larger projects, I invested in a "Merry Tiller" brand unit with a 5 hp (?) Honda engine. This is the tiller you would find at many rental yards. Kind of expensive to own if you will not use regularly, but powerful as heck. I'm glad I bought it, as it will break the toughest hardpan. It has very thick steel tines, and will till up to about 10" deep IIRC.
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Why do they require tilling? beeps wrote:

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Good question.
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beeps, i have had a mantis tiller for about 15-17 years. the best thing i ever got for the garden! still works like new. at the time they offered a lifetime warranty for the tines. i have now claimed on that warranty since two of the tines did break after 10 years of use and a lot of rocks in the ground. they did honor that warranty. I AM STILL IN SHOCK ABOUT IT!!! unfortunately, you do not see many american companies doing this anymore... i will continue to buy from them whatever other products they put to the market. THEY DO DESERVE THE BEST! gloria
beeps wrote:

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If you just need to till them once, hire someone with a big tiller. I had someone do the initial tilling for a 30x40 vegetable garden (formerly lawn). I got 3 quotes, all under $100.00. Since gardens do NOT need to be tilled once they're up and running, the first time was the last time.
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Mantises can handle damp clay, but not rock-hard stuff. However, it's a whole lot easier just to pile a bunch of compost on the surface and let the worms handle the problem.
Kay
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Unless you work organic material into the soil by whatever means you till, you will compound the problem. In addition you will need to vary the depth that you till because rotary tillage is like trowelling concrete especially in clay soils. Also try not to work clay soils when wet it's a recipe for cement. So if you are reasonably young and fit consider spending 40-60$ on a top of the line border fork ( smaller version of a spading fork) and work a little at a time always incorporating compost, leaf mold, or well rotted manure and your soils will improve in structure and fertility.
Tom
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I think it will handle the clayey soil, but you may have to do a number of passes to get significantly deep, at least until you have tilled in some organic matter to amend your soil.
Perhaps I had bad luck, but the Mantis I had would never run a full season without having some kind of engine/carbeuration problems. Their "local" repair service was quite a ways away, and wanted more than the cost of the unit to do the second rebuild, so I threw it out after two years. I got a Honda instead, which cost a little more, but has run flawlessly for quite a few years. Honda seems to build really good engines for everything they sell.
beeps wrote:

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