Cultivator

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by lariet, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. lariet

    lariet Member

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    I am considering the purchase of a lightweight, mulit-purpose tiller. I require something efficient, easy to start and handle.( I am of small stature)
    I was looking at the Mantis with the 4 stroke Honda motor.
    Does anyone have any info on these tillers? They are not cheap, but look like the perfect tool for my raised beds!!!

    Thank you in advance!!!
     
  2. Just Curious

    Just Curious Active Member

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    The Mantis doesn't work like a regular tiller, it needs to be pulled backwards to be effective. This can be hard work but in a raised bed it should be OK as the soil is already worked up
    The Honda engine is a good feature, easy starting and very reliable.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Tilling pulverizes the soil particles, turns it to dust. Once you get beds started it is best to not re-cultivate frequently.
     
  4. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm with Ron. If you decide a tiller is for you, rent one (or 2) first. I rented a mantis and decided that it was totally useless for most of my needs. Then I rented a Honda tiller with no wheels and it was a lot of physical muscling around, but it did work. I borrowed a Sears rear tine big wheeled tiller (~$1000 to buy) and it also worked, less muscle - more the machine doing the work. By that time I was finished for the year and didn't buy anything. I covered the bed with weed cloth over the winter, and I don't expect to have to till at all this year, though maybe I'll spade it a bit, but that will be easy because of last year's prep.

    Ralph
     
  5. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    I never till my raised beds, tho I do occasionally turn them by hand when adding amendments. For most situations, top dressing is enough (the carrot bed is the exception).
     
  6. lariet

    lariet Member

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    Thank you!!!!!
     
  7. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    I suggest your choice of a four stroke Mantiss is excellent NEVER a two stroke. They eventually become a hassle when starting, no mattter how careful one is with the gas and oil. I bought mine last year (Honda) and it has to be my most valuable tool in the garden. I use it like a shovel, hoe and rake combined. To plant trees, shrubs and to make a simple hole for some plant, it cannot be beat.

    http://xrl.us/u7s2

    URL to the tiller in my vegetable garden.
    Honda FG 110 mini-tiller


    5 April 2006 Zone 5. The Honda FG110 was purchased one week ago. It was used to work reasonably good soil, clay with much compost over two years with no rocks. The area worked was over 1000 square feet. This little tiller did a perfect job. The soil was conditioned to a perfect texture for planting.
    I also, worked the rather rough soil in the composter, which this tiller did far better than my larger garden tiller. The composted material has been put through a shredder the previous year, but had some fairly large chunks. These were reduced to the proper size and texture for adding to the garden soil.

    If the tiller got clogged with fiberous plant strings, I simply removed the tines and cleared the obstruction within one of two minutes.

    The tiller started with no effort. To plant onions I removed the outer two tines and pointed the remaining two inwards and got a perfect row for planting about 4 inches wide.

    I use the tiller by gently pulling backwards without the drag bar. All the work was done at full throttle as it should be with such a small engine. I consider the operation to be effortless and the result on the soil is simply not achievable with hand tools. In fact, the soil has the texture of almost being put through a quarter mesh inch screen. This depends a bit on the moisture content.

    To grease the transmission I installed a metal grease nipple and applied grease with a small gun. I remove the nipple after the service to prevent possible breaking and to prevent earth from possibly getting into the transmission.

    The noise level is for all intents and purposes not noticable, since it is a four stroke engine. It is well built, and has no appearance of fragility or poor workmanship.

    To use this small tiller amongst large rocks is misuse in my opinion. I have no rocks. Used with common sense, and not attempting to work it in conditions where a larger machine is clearly required this little machine should last a long time. To work up a small bed I remove the sod with a kick sod cutter, spade the compacted earth to the proper depth, then put the tiller to work to condition the soil. On large chunks it jumps around a little, but that is to be expected. A larger machine simply kicks them out without beating them into small pieces. The result is near perfection.

    There may be other small tillers that work, but this is my first experience with one and I could not be more satisified. Why did I wait so long to purchase one? Don't leave home without it.

    Do a google to find the full specs.

    Worrying about turning a garden into flour like soil is probably little to worry about. I have spend my life trying to get the chunks small enough for a good garden. Usually I have had clay, but by adding city compost and wood chips to keep the soil friable works well.

    Fiber, fiber is the solution. The tiller sure beats banging away with a hoe. Clumps of clay contribute nothing to growth. My beds were completed in record time this year and I must admit the flour situation ( soil too fine) is possible, but I add wood chips to overcome making the soil too fine. The older slow rotation tiller simply can't do the job. To make a new bed I can smash the clay clumps into useful sizes with almost no effort. No amount of manual labour with a hand tool can achieve the results of this small tiller. Personally I consider it the most useful tool since the horse and cultivator were retired.
    Don't leave home without it.


    Durgan.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  9. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Nice to read, but I suggest the fellow is overdoing it just a little. Every situation is somewhat different. I certainly dislike his use of mythe. There should have been more caveats, and I suggest the thrust of the article is only applicable in some isolated situations. Common sense helps in any modifications to the soil, with the application of science when available, and economical.

    Three years ago my garden was warterlogged clay.The previous owner couldn't grow carrots or beets due to the compacted clay. I put drainage pipe and gravel ditches in place. Now I can walk in the garden within hours of a heavy rain, meaning the surface water no longer lays in place.

    The compost I get from the city is vegetative compost that has been screened. It is almost a complete soil in itself. I only add the wood chips for aeration. Actually my soil now is something like the famous Holland Marsh near Barrie, Ontario, but mine has enough clay to be better. Clay I always like since my experience is that it usually has a lot of nutrients with the proviso that it can be worked.

    I sometimes spade the garden to bring more clay into the mixture. Whoever backfilled used good quality topsoil, since I can dig down a foot or so and still have relatively decent clay, but the compost makes it into a gardener's delight.

    The compost I generate from the home property is minimal. It can no way generate enough compost to make any effect that is significient for 1000 square feet of the vegetable garden. my vegetation only generates about five cubic yards maximium. Mostly I use it for mulch around flowers.

    I might add that I subscribe to the view tha barren ground is not beneficial, and I usually plant a winter cover crop of red annual clover to feed the worms, and to bring up bottom nutrients. I cut any that have over-wintered and rototill into the soil.

    My vegetables are probably the best quality that I have ever grown, and certainly rival anything seen on the market. In fact, sometime the plants are far bigger and healthier than the average, and that includes the full gamut. This year I am going to branch out into some of the more unknown for me, like okra, artichoke, and celery.

    Some evidence to support my babblings.: Notice the dates shown on the pictures for Zone 5.
    http://xrl.us/nhxd
    http://xrl.us/nmhz
    http://xrl.us/nus9
    http://xrl.us/rmub
    http://xrl.us/q62k
    http://xrl.us/pshe





    Durgan.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    That "fellow" goes by the name of Linda.
     
  11. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Honda FG110 Engine Failure.

    Honda FG110 Rototiller 19 September 2007

    I purchased the FG110 Rototiller on 4 April 2006. It worked fine until three days ago. It has performed marvously over the last year. I took it to the Farm Service Depot where it was purchased and was informed today that the Engine is finished.This unit was serviced very carefully, over the last year. Oil changes and air filter were cleaned religiously. The transmission was greased on a regular basis.

    I pointed out to the Service People that the Engine was warranteed for two years. The Service Depot did not volunteer this two year warrantee information, which suprised me. The information about the warrantee is in the Owners' Manual on Page 38.They told me they would contact Honda and let me know the decision. I will keep this forum informed regarding the outcome.

    I truly love the little unit, and simply cannot garden without it. It has become my most useful garden tool. But I certainly expect it to last more than two seasons. I hope the problem was just an inherently faulty engine, and is not representative of the FG110.

    Anyway the ball is now in Honda's side of the court.

    http://www.durgan.org/Blog/Durgan.html
     
  12. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Update 21 September 2007 Honda FG110 Waranty Issue.

    I visited the Service Depot today where the Honda FG110 was purchased and was talking to the lady who had called Honda. The Lady told me there was no oil in the unit, and this was passed on to Honda. The Honda Representative told her it probably wouldn’t be covered under Warrantee. She had just got off the phone when I visited.

    I told the lady she had bad information. I had just changed the oil prior to taking it in for service. After discussing it for awhile the lady talked to the person, who had inspected the unit. Then it came out that there was plenty of oil but that it was grey in colour. I had noticed this gray colour, since I had run the unit for about 10 minutes after changing the oil (10W30, which I always used. What caused the new oil to change colour to grey, after only about 10 minutes of running?

    Now the Service Manger is going to contact Honda again. Unfortunately, Honda now has the mis-information that the unit had no oil, and this obstacle will have to be overcome.

    I am now awaiting the call from the Service Manager.
    http://www.durgan.org/Blog/Durgan.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
  13. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Update 21 September 2007 Afternoon.

    I decided to call Honda (1-800 946 6329) to correct the mis-information that was given by the Farm Service Depot; in that the engine lacked oil.

    After explaining the issue, the lady informed me that I had to have proof of oil changes. I told her that I did the oil changrs myself, but she was insistant that I had to have documents. I told her it wasn't an automobile and to give me her suprvisor. She put me on hold and came bck after few minutes and told me she would contact the dealer and would get back to me. That is where the waranty issue remains for now.
    http://www.durgan.org/Blog/Durgan.html
     
  14. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    This is a letter sent to Honda Public Relations. Am awaiting a reply. In the
    meantime I am without the rototiller, and could use it for preparation of the garden bed for 2008 (25 September 2007)

    Honda Canada Inc.
    Power Equipment Public Relations
    715 Milner Avenue
    Toronto, ON M1B 2K8

    Dear Sir:

    Subject: Honda FG110 Rototiller. Claim for Warranty Service.

    19 September 2007

    I purchased the Honda FG110 Rototiller on 4 April 2006 from Brant Tractor Ltd, Brantford, Ontario. It worked until three days ago, but had been losing driving power the last few times it was used. I assumed there was something wrong with the engine, which was beyond my capabilities. It has performed well over the last year, used intermittently as required. I took it to the Farm Service Depot where it was purchased and was informed today that the Engine is finished. This unit was serviced very carefully, over the last year. Oil changes and air filter were cleaned religiously. The transmission was greased on a regular basis.

    I pointed out to the Service People that the engine warranty was for two years. The Service Depot did not volunteer this two year warranty information, which surprised me. The information about the warranty is in the Owners' Manual on Page 38.They told me they would contact Honda and let me know the decision.

    I truly love the little unit, and simply cannot garden without it. It has become my most useful garden tool. But I certainly expect it to last more than two seasons. I hope the problem was just an inherently faulty engine, and is not representative of the FG110.

    Update 21 September 2007 Honda FG110 Warranty Issue.

    I visited the Service Depot (Brant Tractor LTD) today where the Honda FG110 was purchased and was talking to the lady who had called Honda. The Lady told me there was no oil in the unit, and this was passed on to Honda. The Honda Representative told her it probably wouldn’t be covered under Warranty. She had just got off the phone when I visited.

    I told the lady she had bad information. I had just changed the oil two days before taking it in for service, and had run the engine for about 10 minutes. After discussing it for awhile the lady talked to the person, who had inspected the unit. Then it came out that there was plenty of oil but that it was grey in colour. I had noticed this gray colour, since I had run the unit for about 10 minutes after changing the oil (10W30, which I always used. What caused the new oil to change colour to grey, after only about 10 minutes of running?

    Now the Service Manger is going to contact Honda again. Unfortunately, Honda now has the mis-information that the unit had no oil, and this obstacle will have to be overcome.

    Update 21 September 2007 Afternoon.

    I decided to call Honda (1-800 946 6329 ) to correct the mis-information that was given by the Farm Service Depot; in that the engine lacked oil.

    After explaining the issue, the lady (Jennifer) informed me that I had to have proof of oil changes. I told her that I did the oil changes myself, but she was insistent that I had to have documents. I told her proof of oil changes was irrational, and I told her it wasn't an automobile and to give me her supervisor. She put me on hold and came back after few minutes and told me she would contact the dealer and would get back to me. That is where the warranty issue remains for now.

    25 September 2007 I called Honda again today, since I hadn’t heard from Honda, which is probably normal since only two working days have passed.
    The thrust of the conversation was that Honda (Jennifer) would call me, and that I should contact the dealer, Brant Tractor Ltd, to clarify what information they passed onto Honda.

    25 September 2007 I contacted Brant Tractor Ltd.

    The thrust of this conversation was that they had informed Honda that the oil was grey with filings, and that the air filter had been oil around the carburetor, sort of indicating that maintenance had been done. This means the previous mis-information has been corrected at least on the surface. The engine has not been taken apart so the damage or reason for cannot be ascertained. The general view seems to be a mindset that the engine may have lacked oil. This is simply not the situation, but never has the engine been low on oil, and all maintenance has been done far more than recommended. The oil was changed by me almost every time, that I filled the gas tank. Far more than the 50 hour running time recommended.

    I have three Honda Engines in my collection. A weedwacker, a lawnmower, and the rototiller. I buy Honda, sometimes at a higher cost, since I have confidence in their equipment, engines in particular. I also have an old Briggs and Stratton on my old large rototiller, plus a Yard Machine Chipper. I do the maintenance on all my garden equipment.

    There has to be something inherently wrong with the Engine on my FG110 rototiller, and it has nothing to do with maintenance. Never have I tried to claim on a Warranty. I feel so strongly about this warranty claim that I will only accept a replacement engine. The obstacle put up by the Hondo people about having proof of maintenance is illogical on such a small unit. The only proof I have is seven cans left in the box of 12 cans of oil (10W 30) that I purchase in bulk as required to service my yard engines. The only thing I can offer about oil changes is a sworn document signed by a notary, that I did the oil changes, which seems to be a bit ridiculous.

    I would like you to review this Hondo FG 110 Rototiller Warranty issue and decide in my favor.

    Details of the Equipment.

    Honda Mini-tiller FG110
    Serial Number FAAA-1055259
    Model 110G FN
    Purchased from:
    Brant Tractor Ltd
    1324 Colbourne St W
    R.R. #4, Brantford, Ontario N3T 5L7
    Phone 519 449 2500
    branttractor@sympatico.ca
    Date of Purchase 4 April 2006.

    http://www.durgan.org/Blog/Durgan.html

    Durgan - Ontario, Zone "5"
     
  15. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    5 October 2007.
    I called Honda Customer Relations and this is the gist of the converation from the peron who answered the phone. He dug up the file and noticed that there was some note about some dirt in the carborator, and this wasn't covered by warranty, but that Honda was going to give a goodwill settlement, and that "Jennifer" would give me the details and he switched me to Jennifer. Jennifer only had an answering machine, so I left a message to call me.


    I then called the Dealer, Brantford Tractor, and talked to Kevin, the Service Manager. The essence of this conversation was: The dirt in the carborator was a non-isssue, but Honda, Jennifer, was making a customer goodwill gesture; in that. they would pay for the cost of the Engine only, and that they were trying to locate an Engine. There were no engines available. I took this to mean from their normal suppliers. Kevein informed me that this took time and I had to wait. And that is where the situation rests now.


    A Warranty appears to be so much written bloviating nonsense in practice. Every effort to subvert the intent of the Warranty has be thrust forward by Honda. This Honda Engine failed through no fault of my own. It was serviced properly and simply failed, but Honda personnel are acting in a manner, contrary to the intent of the Warranty, without fully evaluating the situation.

    The Service Manager, Brantford Tractor, mentiuoned to Honda about some oil in the carborator to indicate that the filter had been seviced with the intent to indicate that probably service had been done periodically. (Honda probably assumes this is a massive gob of tar) The Honda Rep decided to enlarge this fact into the reason for the Engine failure. This is certainly a great leap in the circumstances. Anyway I still don't have a Rototiller, and am not pleased by the actions of Honda.I am repelled by their slithering actions regarding this Warranty, and expected more. Honour amongst thieves seems to be the motto, certainly in my case.
    http://www.durgan.org/Blog/Durgan.html
     
  16. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    18 October 2007. Honda and the Dealer came through. I pick up a new Honda FG110 tomorrow morning. They finally came around to my line of thinking. I finally convinced them that the maintenance was done religioulsy on the machine.
    I suppose they have to be hard on people claiming warranty, but it was annoying at the time.

    In the interval I was looking around to buy another FG110; in spite, of all my travails. I have about half an acre of gardens and simply cannot live without this little marvel.The two seasons I had the FG110 made gardening a total joy.

    I was looking at Mantis with a Honda engine, and almost bought one, except I found they have two Honda four stroke engines on the Mantis. One is 25 CC at 1 HP, and the other is 31 CC at 1.5 HP. The Mantis 7260 is 31 CC and the 7261 is 25 CC. I would not buy a 25 CC engine on a rototiller. And the 31 CC engine is hard to find on the internet.I don't want any two strokes on my property. Fortunately Honda came through before I made the purchase.

    Thank your, Honda.

    Durgan
     
  17. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

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    This is to show you that the "squeaky wheel" gets oiled!


    You would think that through all the phone calls and office work, that they would just replace the tiller!

    We had the same problem on a pillow top king size bed from RC WILLEY. They had to come to my house and measure the bed and see how deep the devit was in the bed. I weighed under 113 lbs at the time.

    It was so bad that, it was like a dividing line in the middle of the bed of pillow top fluff and two indentations of bodies on both sides. More on my side as I'm smaller and I do a lot of sitting on my side of the bed, my husband is tall and he can level out better.
    The bed looked like the older beds that a couple have had for years and years and had gained weight during those years.

    This shouldn't happen in 4 months! When the guy came and measured, he actually had to tilt the top mattress on end to check it out as well. Then we get a sheet of paper with all the reasons why they wouldn't replace the bed. They didn't give it to us when we bought the bed, probably because we wouldn't have purchased it. It was after I went in to complain. Well, this was just before one of my sons died, and so that was the least of my troubles to fight these guys.

    Finally, we were able to get a new bed and RCWILLEY doesn't buy that brand anymore. But I was quite surprised, as RCWILLEY was known in his community as one that goes out of his way to give good service. I know this as my father knew him in Utah when he started and he would drive up the perilous snow covered canyons to bring customers their water heater, etc. My Dad and Grandpa had a plumbing business in the same little town years ago.
     
  18. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Probably never in my life did I feel so strongly that a Warranty should be honoured. The little Honda FG110 is my favourite garden tool, and I practically massaged the machine. The simple maintenance, oil and filter, was done far more times than the recommend figures. Used properly the unit simply failed for some unknown reason.

    Fortunately, I had the time to pursue the issue. Generally such warranty claims get dropped, due to lack of time and the effort required to overcome the obstacles presented by the target company.

    Anyway Honda eventually honoured the warranty, and I am satisfied.
     

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