Tool Time: Quick Guide to Garden Tillers
Preparing a garden for planting can be a backbreaking process when armed with little more than shovels, hoes and rakes. The right garden tiller makes quick work of just about any size garden space, cultivating a compacted, rocky or heavily weeded plot to accept new crops without the hardship of hand turning the soil. A few factors come into play when selecting the right tiller for the job, including the size of your garden, soil type and how (and how often) it will be used. Here are a few good choices when selecting the right tiller to suit your gardening needs.
Mini Tillers (Cultivators)
Lightweight and inexpensive, mini tillers are a good choice for smaller plots or occasional use in maintaining established beds. Available in both gas-powered and electric models.
Mantis Classic Electric Tiller ($299) Weighing in at just 21 pounds with an eco-friendly, 3-speed electric motor, this lightweight champ is a winning choice for managing smaller gardens or hassle-free weeding.
Front Tine Tillers
Similar to the mini tiller but heavier and with a lot more power, consider a front line tiller for larger gardens or for frequent use. More expensive and less convenient to store, but can tackle jobs the mini tiller just can’t handle.
Husqvarna FT900 ($449.95) With a 26” tilling width and a 6 ½” working depth, this 100 pound entry combines ease of use with the heft needed for a challenging medium-sized garden.
Rear Tine Tillers
Able to break through the most compacted soil with ease, rear tine tillers are more expensive and can weigh hundreds of pounds, but with a wider tilling width, greater tilling depth and able to turn tough soil, these big boys get the job done. Great for large plots, but with a limited turning radius, they are best suited for very large gardens.
Troy Bilt Horse Garden Tiller ($1,999.99) Sporting a cast-iron transmission and a tilling depth of 7”, this workhorse will break through the hardest ground with the ease of single-hand operation. A great choice for cultivating gardens up to 2500 sq. feet.