We have decided to throw our hat into the rototilling ring seeing we have several tillers that do not seem to get used enough.
The details are on the rototilling page.
We have a 10 hp Troy Bilt Horse, rear tine tiller and a smaller cultivator/edger.
The Horse is an older model and was built to last, not like the ones sold now at the big box stores. When this tiller was made in Troy NY, they used steel and iron for every part except the gas line and tires and a few carburetor parts.
The new ones loaded with plastic and thin sheet metal.
The new light weight aluminum engines are not as rugged as the older cast iron versions.
As a matter of fact the new tillers are made by MTD, a company that makes most of the small engine lawn and garden equipment sold at the box stores. They buy and use the old names like Troy Bilt and Cub Cadet but that is as far as the quality goes.
Our 105 Cub Cadet that was made by International Harvester company is solid and is still going strong even though it was made in 1968.
There seems to be a fair amount of controversy on the topic of rototilling in general.
The first argument seems to be over killing worms and spiders.
No doubt tilling kills worms and spiders but I know from my experience digging fishing worms that just turning over soil can kill worms. As far as the spiders go I like the yellow and black garden spiders but I am not sure they live underground.
This I am sure of. Breaking ground is … well back breaking work.
Those who oppose tilling recommend planting in raised beds or working the ground by spade and that is fine in some cases.
A previously tilled patch is not too hard to turn over with a spade but new work it really really hard in most cases.
Raised beds are great for smaller gardens but it is expensive to construct and fill large raised beds. True it is possible over time building one or two raised beds each season to end up with large planting areas.
The other argument is deep tilling ruins the soil by making it too fine, and there may be truth to this but in many case the soil is crummy to begin with. For example when we started our present gardening beds the soil was very heavy and the area is low and does not drain well. By using a tiller we are able to introduce larger leaf mold and other organic bulk to the soil to lighten it up.
We till about 4 to 6 inches deep so the deeper soil is not disturbed.
There is no need to go over and over the soil until it is fine as sand, and if it is fine as sand the tiller can be used to mix in some bulk.
Our strongest argument for tilling is the time saving aspect. We have many beds and a short growing season. We have to get the ground ready to plant quickly.
All this said we do not believe in tilling up a large patches of ground.
We grow in 3 foot wide strips with turf between so we do not compact the soil when harvesting.
The rows are covered by 3 foot landscape fabric and we never have to pull a weed.
Here is an example of tilled rows with turf between them. Notice how the soil is crumbly and somewhat clumpy in appearance. This is because we go over the patch once, to mix in the compost and that’s the end of it.
Anyway we do not wish to be the arbiter of other gardeners practices, but we do want to make some extra money with our tillers.Please share this page