Choose a Tiller | Living the Country Life
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Choose a Tiller

If you're prepping your garden for the upcoming season, ditch your hand tools for one of these dirt-taming machines.
  • Get Going

    Whether you're reviving last year's garden soil or starting a brand new plot, spading dirt is hard work. Save your back and some time by using a garden tiller that can muscle nutrients and compost into the ground while it churns through heavily packed soils. This guide will help you find the ideal machine for your garden. 

    Date Published: April 4, 2018
    Date Updated: April 10, 2018
    Tags: soil tiller
  • Type of Garden

    Before purchasing a new tiller, consider your garden's soil type. Is the ground heavy, hard-packed, clay-based, or rocky? Will you be working in a large spot? Are you starting a new garden in a grassy area? If any of these apply, consider a rear-tine tiller, which cuts deeper than a front-tine tiller. These wheel-leading tillers pack plenty of power to churn up overgrown weeds and stony soil, and their large-treaded tires provide better traction in muddy areas. 

    A front-tine tiller is good for gardens with fine, loamy soil. Front-tine models usually weigh less than their rear-tined counterparts and are better suited for established gardens that don't require deep tilling. They cost about half as much as rear-tine tillers but also have less power. 

    Date Published: April 4, 2018
    Date Updated: April 10, 2018
    Tags: soil tiller
  • Size of Tiller

    In addition to sizing up your garden, check in on your own physical fitness. Petite gardeners and new operaters will find a front-tine tiller's lightweight design easier to control when working around obstacles and easier to move between beds. Gardeners who can control a more robust machine can consider a rear-tine tiller. 

    Most front-tine tillers allow you to adjust the tine width between three different settings. The cutting deck of rear-tine tillers is usually set at a specific width, the amount of time required to till a large garden, but it won't work well for small, narrow beds.

    Also consider your storage restrictions and transportation requirements. An extra-large tiller could prove difficult to store in a small space or to load in and out of a truck bed, especially solo. 

    Date Published: April 4, 2018
    Date Updated: April 10, 2018
    Tags: soil tiller
  • Tine Configuration

    The depth that a machine tills is adjustable–from around 4 inches to 20 inches deep. Front-line tillers possess forward-rotating tines that move in the same direction as the tiller's wheels and work in most soil types. A rear-tine tiller comes with one of four tine options: forward-rotating tines; counter-rotating tines, which turn the opposite direction of the wheels (for heavy packed soils); dual-rotating tines, which rotate forward and backward for more versatility; and vertical tines, which move up and down instead of horizontally. 

    Date Published: April 4, 2018
    Date Updated: April 10, 2018
    Tags: soil tiller
  • Consider Budget

    Tillers come in a range of sticker prices: from $300 to $600 for a front-tine tiller and $500 to $1,000 for a rear-tine tiller. Purchasing an inexpensive but insufficient tiller that causes frustration isn't worth the cost savings, but there's no need to buy a maximum-power tiller if your garden doesn't require it. 

    Keep in mind that some tillers sport optional attachments for greater versatility. Depending on your needs, the ability to tackle a range of tasks with one machine could save you money. You should also evaluate a machine's warranty before purchasing; you never know what your tiller may strike in untilled ground. 

    Date Published: April 4, 2018
    Date Updated: April 10, 2018
    Tags: soil tiller
  • How Much Power Do You Need?

    Front-tine tillers can be gas- or electric-powered, whereas rear-tine tillers, which pack the most power, run on hefty gasoline-fueled engines. A 200-cc or larger engine is best for medium to large gardens; smaller gardens require less power. Two-cycle rear engines are less expensive and have a bigger initial power boost, but both 4-cycle and OHV (overhead valve) engines are worth the extra costs thanks to their fuel efficiency and pollution controls. 

    Date Published: April 4, 2018
    Date Updated: April 10, 2018
    Tags: soil tiller

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