Making a Garden

This is more of a remembrance than anything new. I just saw a commercial on TV for a small cultivator and I was reminded of years ago when someone I knew wanted to plant a garden and called a guy who said that before he came out that the ground had to be spaded up first before he would use his machine.

My question is why would anyone need him or his machine if you had to do all the work before he came.

Did many people avail themselves of his services? I would think not.

[quote=“Susanna, post:2, topic:38588”]
Did many people avail themselves of his services? I would think not.
[/quote]I would not know. I dug up the garden and I sure did not need him

Not sure if you’re talking about a 'tiller (actually, rototiller) or type of cultivator you pull on the back of a tractor, but they will not break up packed, hard dirt. It needs plowed or hand turned first.
They’re not made for breaking ground. They’re for loosening up the soil after its been broken.

There are some tillers that are advertised to be able to break up hard ground, even sod. It’s still preferable to have the ground plowed or spaded at least once before depending on a tiller.

Maybe they could, so long as you’re built like an ox and can hang on to the thing! lol

True enough!

If you have a large space, ripping it open with a tractor, and a drag type “ripper” is the ultimate way to break new ground. Then, “disc” it up.
Otherwise, a roto tiller is the best way. Real tough to break “hardpan” without a pick and shovel, but it can be done.

What Sam was referring to was a “Bumble Bee Tiller”, a two cycle tiller, designed to MAINTAIN tilled garden beds. Great for ladies and well tilled gardens, but a joke, for breaking new ground.
If you are a backyard gardener with soil issues, “Square Foot Gardening” may be the best solution. Place 8X12 cinder blocks around the perimeter of a 4 foot wide 8 foot long area. Fill with a mixture of 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 sphagnum peat moss. Add 10-10-10 fertilizer by bag instructions. Plant.

gardener’s tip:
Fill the holes in the blocks with soil, and plant flowers to keep away pests, and herbs to cook with.

Read about Square Foot Gardening online. Really works, and is an option for anyone with at least 32 ft2.

We had a little two-stroke tiller like that called a “Mantis.” I did break some new ground with it; it was a lot easier than the monster 8 hp tiller that we had (even if I was a healthy twenty-something again, I wouldn’t have any use for one bigger than 5 hp).

[quote=“Fantasy_Chaser, post:9, topic:38588”]
We had a little two-stroke tiller like that called a “Mantis.” I did break some new ground with it; it was a lot easier than the monster 8 hp tiller that we had (even if I was a healthy twenty-something again, I wouldn’t have any use for one bigger than 5 hp).
[/quote]You must have good dirt. I use my 8 hp tiller, for everything. Now that I have removed all the rocks, etc., it buzzes through like Sherman marching through Atlanta.
Raised beds are more productive. The soil warms faster and is easier to weed and manage, since it is a foot closer to your head. Not as much bending and stooping, if you catch my drift.

[quote=“Fantasy_Chaser, post:9, topic:38588”]
We had a little two-stroke tiller like that called a “Mantis.” I did break some new ground with it; it was a lot easier than the monster 8 hp tiller that we had (even if I was a healthy twenty-something again, I wouldn’t have any use for one bigger than 5 hp).
[/quote] then you must’ve had pretty soft soil to deal with, 'cuz most tillers would pull you off the ground trying.

Don’t remember when we last used it, but it did cut through sod, and some pretty hard soil. It would toss out the rocks - and we sure have lots of rocks here. I don’t know if we ever used it here or not. Maybe a little bit. But there was only one place i remember of where we ever had really good soil for a garden, and we didn’t have the tiller then.

The Mantis? Yeah, we used it here. Other than skinning down that one ridge where part of the garden is now with the 8 hp monster (that about killed me at 25), it’s all we’ve used here.

Nope; crappy dirt, and on a hillside. And there really is no removing all the rocks; the slowly shifting hillside breeds new ones…

That 8 hp beast turned me every which way but loose. It would move some pretty big rocks, but mostly it was a cantankerous monster which practically needed power steering to go in a straight line (instead, it had me as underpowered steering…). If that little Mantis hit a rock, it just jumped off the ground instead of catapulting me…

[quote=“Tiny1, post:10, topic:38588”]
You must have good dirt. I use my 8 hp tiller, for everything. Now that I have removed all the rocks, etc., it buzzes through like Sherman marching through Atlanta.
Raised beds are more productive. The soil warms faster and is easier to weed and manage, since it is a foot closer to your head. Not as much bending and stooping, if you catch my drift.
[/quote]I understand. I had a relative tell me once that getting down was not so hard but getting up was a problem at his age ad now I am having the same adventure :rofl:

In fact just the other day I was thinking it would be nice if I could get my riding mower up on a bench so I can work on it instead of kneeing next to it.

[quote=“Fantasy_Chaser, post:14, topic:38588”]
Nope; crappy dirt, and on a hillside. And there really is no removing all the rocks; the slowly shifting hillside breeds new ones…

That 8 hp beast turned me every which way but loose. It would move some pretty big rocks, but mostly it was a cantankerous monster which practically needed power steering to go in a straight line (instead, it had me as underpowered steering…). If that little Mantis hit a rock, it just jumped off the ground instead of catapulting me…
[/quote]Well, I am pretty old, and I guess I am just used to doing it. I usually operate the thing with one hand, since my soil is tilled fine, and it no longer jumps, kicks or lurches.
I tried my Mom’s bumble bee, and it would only till a few inches. My front tine tiller sits down in the dirt, and tills about 10 inches to a foot. It slowly moves forward as I till. No, it isn’t self propelled, I have just learned to “let” the thing work, and not wrestle with it, too much.
I’m glad it works for you.

It doesn’t work for me, at least not anymore; I don’t even think we still have that Mantis anymore. If we do, I doubt it still works; I haven’t used it in years, and I had to baby it even then. Anyway, the problem is that the user (me) doesn’t work very well anymore… :awkward:

My sister has a (big) Toro with front wheels. It doesn’t jump. She can run it one-handed, but her husband doesn’t want her to do it. She got it out one spring and started running it, because he kept putting it off. Of course, he couldn’t admit that a woman could do it (he’s that kind of person), so he went out and took over for her. She learned then, that if she wants him to do something (that he considers only men’s work), she just needs to start doing it herself, and he’ll come and take over the job.

[quote=“Susanna, post:18, topic:38588”]
My sister has a (big) Toro with front wheels. It doesn’t jump. She can run it one-handed, but her husband doesn’t want her to do it. She got it out one spring and started running it, because he kept putting it off. Of course, he couldn’t admit that a woman could do it (he’s that kind of person), so he went out and took over for her. She learned then, that if she wants him to do something (that he considers only men’s work), she just needs to start doing it herself, and he’ll come and take over the job.
[/quote]Been there done that :rofl:

We’ve got a Troy Bilt. (tines in the back) Hit a good-sized rock, and it’ll throw you a mile. I don’t mind that my husband would prefer to run it, and me not get hurt. And we’ve worked our soil for many years. But we live in the Ozarks where the thing that grows best is rocks.
Still, though, I’m pleased when people are impressed with how ‘clean’ our garden is.

Even then, my husband can’t run the tiller one-handed. Too darn dangerous. But I have run it. He doesn’t mind. I’m just happy to “allow” him to do all the work! lol

But speaking of a man taking over a job… Sorta like what Suz’s friend does. I really don’t often use foul language. Except when washing windows! Mr. 2 happened to be home, and overheard me one day. Then proceded to take over 'cuz he doesn’t like hearing that out of his wife.
HA! Figured out how to get out of washing windows! hahahaha.