Meet The Mantis

This is my new toy.  It is a Mantis 4-cycle rototiller.  I am going to use it in the raised bed garden to ready the rest of my soil for planting.  It will be great to turn my winter rye grass cover crop into the soil so that it can break down and release needed nutrients into the garden soil.  It will also cut down on my sore back and knees due to the fact that I won’t need to do these chores by hand anymore.  It will up to the Mantis (with a little help from me).

My Mantis weighs only 24 pounds and, given that it only have two tines attached, it is perfect for my small raised bed garden.  The tines can quickly cut through sod, clay, compacted soil or weeds.  It can also dig down 10 inches so my plants can establish themselves in soil that’s cool, deep and water retentive.  I’m hoping to use it all season–to dig my beds and plant my garden and then all the way to the end of the season when I will turn it all under and re-establish a new cover crop.

My Mantis is easy to start and there is no fuel mixing required.  It is 9 inches wide and has fold down handles.  It can run most of the day on one gallon of gas due to its powerful, Honda 4-cycle engine.  It even has a kickstand so I can “park” my rototiller anywhere and the kickstand flips up when I am tilling the soil.

The easy-grip handles include an on/off switch, a lock key that must be released before the rototiller can operate and an accelerator handle to start the tines working.  The tines are guaranteed for life, so I can only imagine how strong they work.  The tines can spin up to 240 rotations per minute, so that is plenty for the garden that I have here in Connecticut.

I can’t wait to get into the garden with my new toy and do some tilling.  I was so happy when I received the box containing my Mantis.  It reminded me of a little kid getting a bright, red wagon.  So watch out cover crop, your days are numbered.  My Mantis and I are coming to till until we drop…or run out of gas, whichever comes first.  What cool gardening tools are you using in your garden?

2 thoughts on “Meet The Mantis

  1. At Drumbore Farm we used to deploy a rototiller, because it’s well-known that men love power tools, and it was really fun to crank it up and go. A tiller is probably necessary to turn over the grass in your beds. However, based on our research and experience subsequent to acquiring the rototiller, we started using a pitchfork the last couple of years, instead of the tiller. (We don’t grow winter grass in the beds.) A broadfork would actually be even better, but the pitchfork works well enough and is easy to use. We start at the top of the bed, and simply push the fork deeply into the soil and pull back the handle until the soil “breaks” about a foot below the surface. We continue that across the bed, then step back a couple of feet and repeat the pattern. It goes fast. Based on our research, gardens grow better in the long run with this approach because you don’t spread the weed seeds around, grind up the beneficial worms and/or make the soil looser than the vegetables prefer. The pitchfork is not really cool, however. The nerdy farmer in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” was holding a pitchfork, forever depressing its value as a cool object.

    • Hi Don W. Welcome back to Acorns On Glen. I’m sure I’ll be back to the pitchfork at some point, but for now that shiny red rototiller and I will be cranking through the raised beds over the next few weeks. It looked too good to pass up. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Come back and see us soon.

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