Let’s say you have several large flower beds and the soil gets compacted over the winter. You’re getting tired of huffing and puffing while fluffing the hard ground with a manual garden hoe every spring. So, you’re thinking would a Mantis tiller do the trick? Is it overkill? Or will this be your long-awaited salvation from a tiresome spring chore?
A Mantis tiller is perfect for tilling flower beds. The engine speed is controlled by a lever next to one handle grip, and that gives you very good control over what’s happening with the tines. The Mantis is very light and easy to move around. It does take a bit of practice to get used to it because it is certainly different from other types of tillers that one normally uses. For instance, you have to act as the anchor for the Mantis, but that isn’t difficult to do with a little practice. Practice on normal soil before venturing in between the flowers so you won’t cry if the tiller jumps and land on your flowers. To recap, the Mantis has the capability of cultivating several inches of compacted soil or mulch and can also dig holes for new plantings. If you’re worried about power, purchase a model with a 35cc engine or larger. If that size is out of your budget range, the Mantis with the 21cc 2 cycle Echo engine has plenty of power. However, you need to understand that the lightest model is more prone to jumping.
If you buy a Mantis (or any power tiller) make sure you use Stabil in your gas and avoid using gas that is more than four months old. If you only use your tiller seasonal, empty the gas out, prime all the gas out of the bulb, rest the tine on soft soil, close the choke and try starting it and running it until the tiller stops. Then, with the choke still close, hold the trigger and pull it a few more times to pull all the gas out. Make sure it is resting on soft soil so that if the engine revs up and turns the tine, it won’t jump. After this procedure, you can store it away safely for months.
BONUS TIP: For an easy way to dig holes for your garden plants, use a Bosch Rotary Hammer with large SDS bits. Use a bit that looks like 4″ wide shuffle and just hammer down. You’ll be able to dig a hole for five gallon plant in a few minutes. Your back will thank me.