Friday, September 13, 2013


For the record, I don't really like garden tillers.  The reasons are many.  The rotary tines break up and spread grass roots, the engine requires fuel, though the emissions are cleaner than in the past, they are still not good for the environment.  On a more personal note, the engine noise is irritating and I don't like the smell.  Add to this list the fact that it is a less self-sufficient means of gardening than more primitive methods and I'm sure you get my point.

From a more practical stand point, however, there were other considerations.  One big one is the fact that I will not be able to even start using a shovel for quite some time, much less turn the whole garden.  With this in mind, there would certainly be no cover crop this fall, and with the garden gone native, it would be difficult to have it ready for spring planting.

Under normal circumstances, it is possible (though not easy) to raise enough vegetables for home use with only hand tools, but surplus is another matter.  Anna and I have been planning to raise enough for our own use and plenty to sell for part of our income.  The fact is clear that it is not physically possible to work as much ground with a shovel and hoe as with a tiller.

All these factors came under consideration when Anna and I were deciding whether or not to buy a tiller.  Of course, we also considered that Anna doesn't share my aversion to small engines.

Anna and I had been discussing this matter while I was unable to walk.  As soon as I could drive and spend a little time on my feet, we started shopping a bit.  We did not want to get a used tiller and end up having to work on it all the time.  With new equipment being so expensive, we had to shop around some.

With fall approaching, the selection was not as large as in springtime.  Most were not as powerful as we needed and prices were pretty high even on sale.  VERY FRUSTRATING!!!  We needed a tiller that would suit our needs and at a good price.

Finally, when it seemed we might have to settle for less than we wanted, my tightwad self had a thought.  The local equipment rental company sells their equipment after a period of time.  They are also very particular about how their equipment is maintained.  It turned out that they had exactly what we needed (actually, it was the only tiller they had available).  It had been rented out once, but had obviously not been used much.  The price was substantially reduced, helping my tightwad tendencies.  As an added bonus, it came with full factory warranty.

Though I am still not overly fond of rotary tillers, it does make it possible to work up the ground.  Don't get me wrong, I will still keep a good shovel and hoe, just in case the machine breaks down.


  1. Good find! We haven't had a working tiller for many years...the frustration of keeping one running prompted the whole raised bed gardening... Now I am getting keen on permaculture, I would love to not have to mow!

    1. Yes there is the concept of keeping it running. I must say I am still a little uncomfortable with machines, but I guess it will help with getting production going. Mowing on the other hand, will force me to work on the mower. I do so hate working on things.

    2. Mary, I have heard that term quite a few times recently "permaculture" but have no idea what it is. Now I am going to have to look it up and see what it is all about.
      I love raised beds, too, and have a couple, but we have been afraid that it would take a lot more water for them, and we already have a hard time getting enough water to our gardens. Does it seem to take you more water than your regular garden?
      And I can hardly wait to squish my toes around in freshly fine tilled soil to plant little seeds to grow big yields next year!

    3. Check out this website: everything you would want to know about permaculture!

      As for raised beds, they are wonderful for spring plantings because you can work them so early. Later in the summer, they can dry out more rapidly, so yes, it seems they need to be watered. We used those micro-irrigation fittings, so the water usage is not too bad.
      They are easy to weed and I seem to keep them under better control, too.
      And even being four to six inches higher, it is so much easier on your back.
      I really beef up the soil and plant things really close together, so I am getting alot of produce from the small space. For example, I just harvested about 40 pounds of sweet potatoes from a 3x25 bed. Looks like I would have had more except the gophers had helped themselves!
      Anyway, I like them and build a few more each year.


Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment. We love and appreciate comments!