How To – Garden Tillers and Buying vs Renting

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    Depending on the size of your garden the amount of time it takes to prepare your soil for this years crops can take a few hours or a few days.  Lets face it although we love our gardens as we get older we neither have the time or strength necessary to do it all by hand. At some point the cost of a $2 bag of frozen vegetables looks much more attractive then maintaining beans and peas which even in a large garden may not result in a harvest larger then a half dozen bags of frozen vegetables.

    The good thing about a garden tiller is that it can turn those couple days of work into a couple hours of work but even so the job will not be easy.

    Tillers come in a variety of sizes. Some smaller tillers which are mainly weed getters can be attached to a gasoline powered weed wacker.. while others are attached to a lawn tractor and can prepare an acre of dirt in a weekend.

    The size of garden tiller you buy or rent should be appropriate to your garden.

    The cost of the tiller should also be well within your budget because as we said above frozen vegetables look rather attractive when you add up all your costs for supplies, water and the hours of time needed to manage a garden.

    Garden Tillers Buying vs Renting which is better?

    It is difficult to say which is a better solution for many people because so many factors are included in the renting of equipment.

    First do you have a local supply center that will rent you a garden tiller at a reasonable price?

    Some tool rental centers will charge you $20 per half day while others may charge you up to $50 for just four hours. If you go over the time allotted you won’t be charged by the hour or half hour you will need to pay another full half or full day of rental time.

    If you can rent your tool on a Saturday afternoon after 2pm and then return it on Monday morning this will give you many more hours of use for the same cost.

    Types of Garden Tillers

    There are three different types of medium sized garden tillers and the differences are where the tilling tines are located.

    Front and Mid Tine garden tillers normally have the shallowest depths while the mid or center tine tillers tend to be easier to handle.

    Rear Tine garden tillers have the deepest reach into the soil but they are also difficult to handle and require more strength.

    Gasoline or Electric

    Electric tillers that are battery operated or run off of an extension cord offer the least power and are not suitable for many gardeners. If you need a cultivator to clean up weeds between your plants this may be an option but the use of hand tools may be easier in the long run.

    Gasoline tillers come in a variety of types you can have the smaller tillers that are attached to a weed wacker, an independent gasoline tiller or one that is attached to your lawn tractor.

    For most gardens you want a gasoline operated independent tiller. You should also look for one that you can manage as they come in a range of horse power.

    Renting a model that is the same or similar to the one that you want to purchase is a good idea. You can also pickup garden tillers used for much less then their initial cost. You can look in your local paper, online or ask your local repair shop to notify you if they ever have a used model for a decent price.

    Caring for your garden tiller

    Care for a garden tiller is about the same as for a gasoline operated lawn mower. Your manual should provide you specific instructions for maintenance but the following should apply.

    Clean the mud off your tiller after every use.

    Always inspect the tiller tines before you operate the tiller for looseness or damage.

    If you strike a rock or object with your tiller you should inspect the tines for damage.

    Store the tiller in a dry warm place like your garage.

    If you store your tiller in a shed over the winter you should winterize your tiller by removing all of its gasoline and changing its oil every season will be mandatory.

    At the end of the season a light coating of spray paint will protect the tiller blades from rust.

    Change your spark plug at suggested hours of use. It is not normally necessary to change your plug every year if you only use your tiller a few hours per year.

    Change or clean your air filter on a regular basis. Some air filters are a foam material that can be reused after cleaning however this foam will break down over the years and require replacing. Figure on 5 years maximum for a foam filter.


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