Deere "lawn tractor" OK for cultivating/soil prep?

Howdy everyone-
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!
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I can't even picture my "lawn" tractor pulling a little moldboard plow. I use an old Sears 12 hp Suburban & an old Cub Cadet both with the cast iron transaxle, They weigh considerable more than a 115 and I still need wheel weights and chains. Those pot metal transaxles can't possibly stand up for much of that. Size wise there isn't much difference and the horsepower is not the concern.
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Dear sir My name is Rock from China.and i have pleasure in introducing myself when i see your topic from google.want to know do you want a new lawn tractor with good quality and cheep price from China.if you want contact me by email/MSN snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com.I do international business in China. Best regards Rock email/MSN: snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com
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You must mean cheep quality and good price.
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Yeah, right. Maybe cheep cheep cheep as in: for the birds. I have yet to see any half way decent quality tool or machine come out of PR China. To think that that was once a Great Country. Well, a long long time ago, I suppose. (And don't anybody start upbraiding me for taking cheap shots).
-P.
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i think the garden tractors have a heavier frame and transmission ... and hold up better when pulling implements. those little alumnum trans in lawn tractors have gears made from powdered metal..sintered i think the call them.lawn tractors are made to pull themselves and not much more...lucas
http://www.minibite.com/america/malone.htm
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

Transmission and Traction.
Our lawn tractor's transmission wouldn't stand up to pulling anything much. And the traction is so bad, it can't even get itself out of one of the holes the dogs dig in their run area if it drops one drive-wheel in, it needs a push.
Does that answer your question?
-Peter
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Somewhat. Are the transmissions really that different on the garden tractors? I haven't been able to find much specific info when I compared the two (e.g. at Sears the other day). Is the traction difference from tire size...or gearing or both? I see most of the 'garden tractors' have 23" tires while the lawn tractors are 18-20" (and wider)...
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yes, they are that different, they are not even closely related. Garden tractors typically have a cast iron transmission often with (sometimes optional) auxiliary power take off (pto) to supply power to attachments. These things are bullet-proof. You will also find an automotive style rear end. This allows a lot more range in the gearing, lower lows and higher highs.
A yard tractor on the other hand has an aluminum transaxle (usually Peerless) that cannot take much abuse. You can't even change the oil in them. They are considered disposable. They work fine for hauling around the tractor and a rider but any more and they are quickly overloaded. The big price difference is partly because a transaxle means no separate rear end is needed.
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I think you would be better off getting a good ZTR mower to do the job it is designed to do and a rear tine tiller to do the job it is designed to do. Besides you can be mowing while you wife is tilling. I like Ariens and Gravley mowers, very good for the price. If you want the best look at Dixie Chopper. I have a Huskey tiller that works well in my 4 gardens and has for 4 years so far.
From Mel & Donnie in Bluebird Valley
http://community.webtv.net/MelKelly/TheKids
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