Manual tillers help

rosessecretgardenFebruary 13, 2010

Hey all

I could not find the right sub forum for this post so i am posting it here because of high traffic. I hope i get good answer here too

I understand that there are electric-powered tillers and motorized tillers. The area I'm gardening is not so big so I don't think I need something so fancy. Is there a manual (hand tool) tiller I can buy? I'm only looking to till about 60 sq. feet.

Is their a particular hand-tool tiller someone can recommend for this?

Thanks to pointers

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Tool Shed forum has most of the tiller discussions. The best "hand-tool tiller" is a spade (aka potato fork) or a 3 or 4 tine cultivator. The cultivators types won't go all that deep but a spade will turn it to the depth of the prongs with some added elbow grease.

Still alot more work than a power tiller.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 1:51PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Yes, for that size I'd just get a good fork (a digging fork, not a potato fork which has flat tines). It's worth paying for stainless steel, especially if you have heavy soil. 60 sq feet is barely worth getting a motorised tiller cranked up. You could dig it over in 30 minutes.

Here is a link that might be useful: forks

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 2:46PM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

You can turn over the soil in a 60 sq foot area in a short time with only a shovel. A digging fork would make it even easier.

I picked up a clearance priced auger that attaches to a portable drill at the end of the season. I used it to drill a few holes in my clay soil. It easily worked up the soil and could probably be used to till up small areas although it is sold for digging holes to plant bulbs. It might work if you really want some kind of power hand tool but it will probably take as long as using the shovel or digging fork. If you already have a battery powered drill to attach it to, it might be worth considering.

LOL, Google shows that what I bought is being promoted as suitable for tilling small places.....and I thought my idea was unique (or crazy).

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden auger

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 7:12PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I have used what I call a spading fork (D handle, 4 sturdy tines) many times to dig up a garden of a few hundred square feet. I now have a small tiller, but the fork served well and I still use it for some work.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 9:56PM
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The spalding fork sounds good. I will look into it.
I have clost to 500 sq-ft garden area and all I have is a regular shovel. I get some good exercise turning the beds in the fall and spring,(those that are vacant). I do turn them over mostly because I keep amending with leaves and compost. By the way, I am not young. Why go to gym(and pay !?), when you can exercise right in your garden for free??LOL

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 12:56AM
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I had a small Sears tiller about 5 years ago. About a foot wide with removable tines. Very light and easy to man handle. I think some of the Garden type shows give examples of small ones that are used around edges and small areas. Try a flea market, sometimes you can find one that fits your situation and get a good deal. But, unless you have back problems or bad arthritis I would try to do it manually with a fork or hoe. Most gardeners seem to be pretty fit.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 8:34AM
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I have a large rear-tine Craftsman tiller, a mini honda tiller and a 4 prong cultivator. I use the mini tiller for breaking ground in areas that have sensitive issues like tree roots because it's fairly easy to control (I'm a small 5'3" woman). The large tiller is used for open areas because it basically tears through everything and doesn't have a very sharp turn ratio. But the hand cultivator is probably my favorite tool. It's what I use to turn compost and add amendments to raised beds. The tillers require prep before using and ongoing maintenance (gas, oil, plugs, filters) while the cultivator just sits there waiting for me.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 10:13AM
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A small 60sf (8x8) lot can be dug up in about 30 min ~ 1hr using a combination of spade and fork. If double-digging, it may take about 4~5 hrs.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 11:55AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Hand spading an area of 500 s.f. or so is quite feasible. Don't do it all at once. Pace yourself and do it in several sessions.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 1:29PM
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