tilling with a small Mantis tiller

qumumJuly 7, 2009

This is the second time I've used my small Mantis tiller. It is definitely faster than hoeing BUT the on/off switch is right above the handle bar I hold onto and it rubs my finger and last time I ended up with bleeding thumb. this time just a blister. How do you all use your Mantis or does yours not have the on/off switch in a bad position.

And when tilling I end up going forward a few inches and then back and then forward again. when I go forward for maybe a foot or two and then back I end up with lots of dirt pulled back in a pile. What method do you use to till?


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Donna, I am no help since I don't have a Mantis; I hope others who use one will help you out.

I am still using my ca. 1976 Merry Tiller.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 5:55AM
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chickadee_42us(8a Tx)

Does it work well? Does it jerk around a lot on dry ground? Does it have the power to till baked earth?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 8:42PM
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My Merry Tiller has no reverse, so I just let up on the throttle and pull it back if I need to. It is very light weight and was sold to me as something an old woman could run all day (now I can say he was right!). It has cultivating rather than slashing tines but I can still break sod and till for a new bed.....of course it takes many passes up and down to do that.

I don't know if you can even buy these machines anymore, but if you ever run across one used, don't hestitate to buy it!.

I think the MOdel is Scotsman.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 6:37AM
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pamcrews(6 SW Missouri)

Hi Donna, I have a Mantis tiller that we bought new this season. I don't hold that on/off switch continuously like you mentioned. In fact I find that I sometimes hit it my mistake and it turns the unit off. I would think it would be hard to hold that switch down while you are tilling. Is it possible it's defective? Might want to read the manual or take it back from where you bought it.

I read alot of reviews regarding this tiller before I purchased it. It seemed to be the best bang for my buck with good reveiws. I had a Honda tiller before that truthfully I think I liked a little better but it died from over use. This Mantis tiller seems to require alot of arm muscle to operate as it works best when you use it in a backwards motion. As the dirt backs up I turn around and go the other direction, thus spreading the dirt back where it came from. For the most part I have new gardens that are a hard clay. I allow the tiller to bounce up and down some until I get the ground broken up. What has helped in some areas is the mulch that I put in my gardens that eventually gets worked into the dirt which keeps it from getting so compacted over time. Having fairly new gardens I know it's going to take some seasons to get the soil the way I want it. Bottom line with the tiller....it's a keeper. I'll muscle it (which at 50 years old I just consider part of my work out routine) as it does keep me from hoeing and shoveling to break up the soil. I'd check about that on/off switch but other than that you might just need to use it a few more times to get comfortable with it. Good Luck and Happy Gardening. Pam

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 12:05PM
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Hi Pam
I am not holding the on/off button on all the time..........I guess I just explained it wrong. but when holding the handle my thumb rubs the corner of that button and even rubbed a blister. I, too, have experienced hitting it by mistake and turning the unit off.

Excellent idea to turn around and pull the dirt back the opposite direction as I, too, find it works best backwards. I had not thought about turning around. Duh. But pulling it backwards I have found I catch a stray rock that locks it up and then I have to turn it off and dislodge the rock. Not often........but occasionally. I do like it tho as it is so much easier to handle than a big tiller. Donna

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 10:16PM
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pamcrews(6 SW Missouri)

"Excellent idea to turn around and pull the dirt back the opposite direction as I, too, find it works best backwards. I had not thought about turning around. Duh."

Thanks for the giggle this morning Donna. I too have had more than my share of those kinds of moments.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:48AM
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pinkgardener(z5 PA)

I've had my Mantis tiller over 10 years. I've used it not just in the garden, but even more often for planting new shrubs and digging up the lawn to make for flower beds. I hope you have as much fun as I do with it. I recently added a Dethatcher attachment. They have a pretty convincing video that shows you how it works so I'm going to give it a try just before Fall sets in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mantis Dethatcher Attachment

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 3:53PM
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