I've got a 40x20 vege garden. To till under the veges after the season would the Honda 110 Mini Tiller work for this or would I need something bigger to handle the vines etc that I want to till under?
Vines get wrap around tines all tillers but mini Honda worst. If can mow over vines and mulch with mower both work but mini take longer 20 40 ok for mini you never can expand Garden by much. I think mantis alittle more liked Honda you have to watch not get dirt in air filter its a oil foam filter dirt dust magnet.
40X20 is at the edge for a mini tiller. Too small to justify a big tiller but a mini tiller takes a long time to till more than 8" deep. But if you take your time, I think it is doable.
I Have the Mantis tiller with Honda engine. I really love it. One way to look at it is to rent the smallest big tiller for a few hours, shouldn't cost you a lot of money to break the ground. After that, if you keep tilling ones or twice a year using the mini tiller, the mini tiller will do the job nicely. I don't suggest you to buy a big tiller, not even the cheaper front tine tiller. A mini tiller is 10 times more useful.
Look into Stihl Yard Boss also, it has option of adding weight to help digging deeper and it has brush attachment for cleaning side walk and concrete. The dethatch tine is very useful if you have lawn, all three brands have that attachment.
As Gator said, neither the Honda nor the Mantis will be adequate for power composting. Really, any tiller would be inadequate unless you run your mower over the garden first. I always mow mine at the end of season.
Do you have a neighbor with a decent tiller you could hire? I till gardens in my area for $35 an hour. It's win-win. I make a little cash and justify owning a BCS 850. The people who hire me don't have the hassle of owning and maintaining a decent tiller or renting a tiller, figuring out how to run it, and getting it back in time to not get charged for an extra hour. If you don't have a neighbor to do it, check out your local craigslist for a person with a tiller near you.
I had a Mantis and sold it after it sat in my shed for two years. Any work it did, I could do as well and faster with a wheel hoe or a long handled hoe, without burning gasoline.
Without getting into the latest trend for no-till gardening, and as was said, regardless of what machine you use to till the garden soil, vines + vegetable stems will bind the tines and not be reduced enough to serve as compost for next season.
Ideally, at season's end you should first remove all vegetable growth, feed it into a shredder and then add the bits into your compost piles. A 20 x 40 garden is actually fairly large - close to the size of my vegetable gardens - including the 3 raised herb and berry beds.
I use my rear-tine 5 hp Troy-Bilt Pony roto-tiller in the Fall to work in aged manure and then again in the Spring after adding organic fertilizers and top-dressing with compost . . . can't imagine using any machine with less power - or for that matter, double digging this much area by hand.
I have a garden about the same size as yours. My large tiller takes about an hour to complete the job and my Mantis takes several hours because of the width.
You may want to look at a used tiller on craigslist or somewhere else. They are not too expensive and in my area, they are on craigslist almost every day.
My Mantis still gets plenty of use but not for the first tilling of the garden every season.
I pretty much do as archdiver with the fall till and early spring till. I use a 5hp heavy maxium tiller to deep till and shape my raised (unsupported) beds. Mix in some barn fertilizer, cover with hay, and wait til early spring. Then I lite till with a small tiller. Having said that....this has been the wettest period I have seen since I started a garden several years ago. Have not been able to deep till, can not even light till....just too wet. I put out onion sets and some of them don't look so good. Time for potatoes but I am afraid it is too wet for them to survive. And it is gonnna rain for the next couple of days. This may be a very slack year for the backyard garden. I have tried both ways to get rid of vines. I think pulling the vines out is best. Too much of a hassle to unclod the tines on the tillers. Sorry for long winded response but "too wet to plow" is taking on a new meaning around here. Have a good day!
I like to use my Mantis for speeding along the compost pile. I till straight up the sides. It also does terrible destruction on my drip irrigation system.
Neither the Mantis nor the Troybilt Pony does very well when the soil is dry. They both bounce into the air like gazelles when the soil is real dry.
If you wet the hard soil just a little, it would be easier for the Mantis.
After you break the ground the first time, I think you can use the Mantis to till it twice a year and it won't be that bad. The first time is the hard one. You can try wet it a little maybe the Mantis will work if you take your time. Mantis is a lot more useful than the big tiller. Hate to buy the big tiller for limit use for a 40'X20'.
Maybe check on add to see someone with a big tiller willing to till the land the first time. With a big tiller, it is just an hour or two job.
As for weeds and stuff, use a string trimmer first, rake it before tilling. You might be able to mow it too.
I realize this is an old thread, but someone might run across it while browsing (as I did). I prefer a rear tine tiller (Troy Bilt Pony, or even Bronco, though the latter lacks reverse). I regard most front tine tillers as evil monsters, but for one--the old Merry Tiller. It was really a "mid tine," but the tines were actually set somewhat to the rear of the engine. Point is, it was balanced, and relatively easy to use. Vey important to use the drag stake to control depth and forward speed. Don't use the wheels while tilling--they're only for transporting.
As for cutting up vines etc. at the end of the season, the rear tine tillers actually do quite well. I usually don't have to untangle the tines until the job is done, and then it takes only a few minutes. By next spring, all the stuff you tilled in (even cornstalks!!) will be turned into humous.
P. S. Merry Tillers are now made by MacKissic, and aren't cheap. But I'd look for one on Ebay or Craigslist.