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Thread: Mini tiller / Cultivator

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Mini tiller / Cultivator

    Any one have a mini tiller / cultivator (Mantis or similar) they use to cultivate in their gsrden? Thinking of getting one and would like some input from someone that has one. Brand / model and any info.

    Opinions, thoughts, would you buy again, etc.

    Thanks
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  2. #2
    When I was cultivating a quarter-acre garden, in Virginia, I used a 5HP rear tine tiller I bought from Southern States. I can't remember the model number, but it was the only rear tine tiller Southern States sold at the time. The tiller is pulled forward by the driven wheels, and the tines rotate in the opposite direction. Cultivating was easy and all I had to do was walk behind and keep it pointed in the correct direction. The front tine tiller I had been using was a workout and not fun to use.

    I wanted a Troy-Bilt tiller, but the Southern States version was about a third of the cost and worked great for the nine years I used it. I sold it when I left for Germany.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Hot Springs, VA
    Posts
    740
    I am using this one - Stihl MM 56 C-E YARD BOSS.Not easiest one to use, but good for small areas, like raised garden, small patches. Plus multiple attachments, some very useful.
    Ed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
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    1,305
    I was looking at buying the Mantis and then found out Home Depot rented them for about $30 for 4 hours.

    Saved me quite a bundle for the few times I would need to use one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NE OH
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    We have an old troy-bilt mini tiller bought in 1995. It's nothing like the current troy bilt model; it looks more like the ones that DR sells.

    We used to have a 25 x 25 raised garden. I would till it with our big rear tine tiller, but couldn't get too close to the edges, so I would go around with the mini tiller to get those areas. We would also use it to till between rows of plants to knock back the weeds. Now that we converted to elevated garden beds, we don't use either tiller much; probably should sell them.

    The mini works great on previously broken ground, or soft loamy soil. You can bury the thing 8 inches deep and it just keeps digging. Unbroken, hard, soil is a different story. You can do it, but the tiller will bounce and buck like crazy and will give you workout. It's not unusual for it to bounce a foot into the air when it hits a particularly hard bit of soil. It just doesn't have enough weight for working hard soil. Like I said, you can do it for small areas, but I wouldn't want to do anything much bigger than 10 or 20 square feet. Far better to rent a larger machine for initial tilling and keep the small one for little jobs.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    2,192
    I have a small Honda version. At 9" it's the smallest they make. For a very light tiller it really works well.

    https://powerequipment.honda.com/tillers/models/fg110
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info everyone
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post
    I was looking at buying the Mantis and then found out Home Depot rented them for about $30 for 4 hours.

    Saved me quite a bundle for the few times I would need to use one.
    Perfect way for me to test one before purchase. Thanks Chris
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
    Posts
    14,014
    I purchased the small Honda tiller several years ago. It's been a great machine for getting into small spaces, absolutely reliable.
    I have an 84" tiller for the big stuff

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cache Valley, Utah
    Posts
    1,649
    I have a mini tiller attachment for my Ryobi 40 volt system. It's practically worthless. If you just need to stir up mulch it's ok, but for breaking up soil, forget it. Get a real tiller. Heck, get a shovel. (The leaf blower and weed wacker are great, and the edger is sort of ok but it clogs up if the soil is muddy. Battery life across the board is pretty good to great.)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    I am going to look at a Earthquake cultivator either tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning.
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    57,408
    We have a Mantis, George, but it's been many years since it's even been used. (Contact me privately if you'd like to make a field trip and acquire it for pennies on the dollar) It's a good, versatile system. We just lost interest/need for it long ago.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
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    15,758
    We have the electric Mantis. It’s been years since we’ve done any gardening but it was a strong mini cultivator. I use it to de-thatch the lawn every spring.
    Please help support the Creek.


    During the middle ages they celebrated the end of the plague with wine and orgies. Does anyone know if there is anything planned when this one ends?

    ---

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    I have a small Honda version. At 9" it's the smallest they make. For a very light tiller it really works well.

    https://powerequipment.honda.com/tillers/models/fg110

    Have the Honda mentioned above, along with a Merry Chain drive, and a couple of Troy-Bilt Horses. Seldom use Honda, just the Merry and Troy-Bilts. With adding wood chips to garden, all three are seeing less usage.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Yorktown, VA
    Posts
    2,637
    I've had a Mantis for almost 30 years. First used the one my mother in law had one for her garden many years ago. Never thought it would be worth a hoot, but discovered it was worth it's weight in gold, so I bought my own. I pop on a new carb off Amazon every couple of years, burn TruFuel or ethanol free gas, keep the gear case lubed and replace parts that wear out or rust out...so far, all readily available. Dug it out from the back of the shed this garden season, gassed it up and started on the second pull.

    Had a neighbor move away a few weeks ago. He is a Master Gardener, a churchgoer, and a generous spirit--always helping other folks out. I was helping him get his house ready for sale and noticed several Mantis machines stacked next to his shed. He said church friends whose husbands had passed couldn't get them going and had given them to him after he helped empty out and sell the contents of their hubbies garages/shops. Told me if I could get one running I could have the rest. New carb, fuel lines and bubble from Amazon. I now have three Mantis tillers.

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