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
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.
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.
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
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 $100.00. Since gardens do NOT need to be tilled
once they're up and running, the first time was the last time.
Unless you work organic material into the soil by whatever means you
till, you will compound the problem. In addition you will need to vary
the depth that you till because rotary tillage is like trowelling
concrete especially in clay soils. Also try not to work clay soils when
wet it's a recipe for cement.
So if you are reasonably young and fit consider spending 40-60$ 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
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.
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