Experiences plowing with a garden tractor?

daybreakfarmmaineAugust 3, 2010

In a related post, a helpful forum member suggested using a garden tractor with a single bottom mouldboard plow as a means of breaking sod on my 2 acres of land. I've seen videos of garden tractors with plows, and while they seem to work, I've always assumed that it would kill the garden tractor in short order. Do others have experiences with this? The two acres are a one-shot deal, after that I'd just be using the garden tractor for mowing. Will plowing kill the machine?


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You need a true garden tractor, specifically rated by the manufacturer for ground engaging equipment. If you try to use a lawn tractor (or anything else not rated for "ground engaging") you fry the transmission before you get a 1/4 acre done.

I'd suggest you either rent something heavier, or hire a guy and tractor to do this on a one-shot basis.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 4:49PM
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You can do it, if you have the appropriate GARDEN (heavy duty meant for ground engaging work) tractor and plow, however 2 acres is a bit much for a machine meant to do a garden.

I agree that hiring someone with a farm tractor to do it is the best way to go. After that, if you have a decent rear tine tiller you can maintain the garden with no problems. I own a farm and have big green machines, the only time I plowed the veggie garden was the first time, ever after I just till it with good results.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:36PM
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Day: For Plow usage a Dedicated A/T with at least 30 HP Rating would be req'd . You could get by with a smaller Diesel perhaps but you would be taking a risk at transmission
damage on anything smaller . Using discs and harrow would be your best bet . I would recommend having a Professional come in do your 1 time acreage clearing , much less of a headache short and long term .

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 12:24PM
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Horsepower is not the problem. A bottom (moldboard plow) needs traction. A 10 HP Farmall Cub, 10 HP John Deere L, 11 HP Massey Ferguson Pony and their contemporaries dis a decent job with a single bottom 12 inch plow. A lot of walk behinds were made in the same time period with similar horsepower but just could not get enough traction to do a decent job of plowing. Some of the more conventional farm size garden machines like the Economy, Power King were still to light to get adequate traction.
Plowing has advantages especially when breaking sod, but I concur with the others, find someone with an older farm tractor and moldboard plow to do the initial breaking.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 4:54PM
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Farm: With Horsepower comes the weight (ballast) required to provided the enertia for effective plowing . Thus minimium 30 HP rating for Gas or 15-25 range within Diesel Usage . Really for less than dedicated farming interest using anything less then I recommended would potentially damage a small garden size tractor . Use of a Agricultural units is req'd even for only 2 acres . I have seen numerous incidents within a few acres , unless the soil composition is beach sand , which I doubt lol . Rental or contract it out Dude ...a No Brainer !

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 5:34AM
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Hiya ewalk,

The models Dilla mentioned are definitely capable of plowing. The John Deere B, a full size row crop tractor capable of doing all work on a 40 acre farm, came out with 16 hp in 1935. It would out work and run over any garden tractor of today claiming twice the HP. The B could pull a 2-12 or 1-16 plow.

Today's HP claims are wildly inflated. There is NO lawn tractor on the market truthfully telling its HP rating. There certainly is no 16 hp tractor made today that could touch a 16 inch plow.

Hiya Daybreak,

I posted on your thread regarding BCS on this topic.

Bill in WI

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 8:40AM
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Farm: I agree 100% that the Vintage Tractors you are indicating are more than capable of the Task . Hell they would suffice easily within most agricultural settings for short term usage . I doubt they would have the rating for many Combine Duties today , but back in their day they got the Job Done and were cheaper long term then feeding the Horses lol . Grew up on a farm 2 quarter section size mostly Hardwood but did do some multi cropping with the Old Massey Harris and Ford Tractor . Had one Cock-Shutt 40 Designated for Wood Hauling and Gravel Pit Usage Only . Yeah if Daybreak had the use of any of the True Tractors that you indicate he would be smiling . I really think any lawn tractor today would be hard pressed to accomplish what he desires .

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 12:52PM
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