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.
On Feb 13, 2:36 pm, White email@example.com (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.
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!
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.
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............
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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