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in Tools and techniques
After much deliberation, I bought on of these last year. My hope was to cut down on the amount of heavy spade work I do.
Although it's fine for tilling the top few inches, hoeing & weeding, for me it will never replace me old spade & fork.
Anyone feel the same?
I have heavy clay soil with a hardpan about 12 inches down. When we first bought teh house (newbuild) I had to take a spade, fork, pickaxe and crowbar to it to loosen the soil, and then added loads of manure, sand and gypsum. I used my mantis to break down the clay lumps and mix in the stuff I added. It was great for this job, and saved me many hours of work. The tiller would never have done the job on its own.
Since then I have repeated the process as I have added raised beds and expanded the borders, and wouldn't be without it.It's very easy to handle / lift etc..
I used it on MIL's garden in her newly acquired home last year. Her soil is wonderful, deep loam, and the tiller went down 15 inches like cutting through butter.
My soil is quite heavy and I find the Mantis is fine after it has been dug with a spade (defeats the object somewhat) If I try to use it purely for turning the soil, it leaps around like a bucking bronco.
I know exactly what you mean when you describe it as a bucking bronco on hard ground. because its so light it can leap out of the bed you are cultivating and onto the lawn, and keeping it on line is good for developing your arm muscles. But in MIL's soil it didn't jump about, just gradually worked its way down. She has amazing soil though. For over 100 years it was a free range chicken farm. She planted delphiniums last spring and they were twice as tall and wide as mine.