Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A New Tiller For The Garden

I did it. I finally picked one. A tiller for my garden. Which one did I pick? The Hoss Wheel Hoe, modeled after the original Planet Jr. And I'm not disappointed! A lot of thought went into my decision and for those wondering why I picked this one, I'll share with you my thoughts on the subject.

First and foremost, I needed a tool that would satisfy the requirements of the job...

• To till or break up the soil for planting
• The ability to get in tight places between rows of crops
• To help remove weeds
• Hilling of dirt for planting 
• Digging a furrow for planting and for watering trenches

The Hoss does all of these things. All that has to be done is an attachment changed out. And it's easy enough with a tool or two that I could do it myself. Which leads me to reason number two...

Second, I need a tool that I could use myself without the help of my husband. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to wait until he was available to run a borrowed rotary tiller so that I could get in a row of seeds or plants. And there were times when it just didn't get done! So doing this myself was a very high priority.

Third, it needed a tool that I could run even when I get a bit older, and older, etc. As I was waiting on my Hoss Wheel Hoe to arrive, this was the factor that made me most nervous. Would I really be able to push this thing reasonably? Could I do it myself without so much stress on my body that I would give up? Again, I was not disappointed! Not only could I do it, it was fun! I had trouble getting my husband to quit playing with it and let me have a turn. And he kept tilling my rows despite the fact that I told him it was way to early in the season! If he wants to run it, that's fine with me, but I won't be waiting for him to get home anymore! When I need a row tilled, it will get done! (I should mention here that I do not have hard clay soil, but neither is it perfectly soft loam either. Perhaps you can get an idea in the photo below.)

Oh, and I asked my husband to compare the Hoss to a traditional gas powered tiller and he felt the Hoss wasn't any harder to handle because the gas powered tillers bounced around so much and had to be maneuvered at the end of each row. The Hoss required some upper body work, but nothing like he expected.

Fourth, I needed a cultivator that wouldn't be too invasive on the ecosystem in my garden.  I want to encourage earthworm activity, not destroy it! This tool is perfect for turning just enough to break up the soil to plant in. Which is what I wanted. The top layer is broken open and the roots of plants near by will still be safe.

Fifth, I wanted a tool that wouldn't require constant maintenance. Seriously, has anyone ever been able to start a gas powered rotary tiller on the first try? Ever? Or how about having it run all season without a repair? I don't think there's such a thing. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it has not been my experience at all! The Hoss is like a simple tool you studied in fifth grade science class and therefore, little to go wrong. The handles are of solid oak and you can get replacements or different handle designs if you prefer them, but the likely hood of me needing to do this is slim. And see that wheel? No inflatable tube to get punctured or flat. And there really isn't a big benefit in having one in this situation, so why have it? The steel wheel works great and will last a lifetime.

Sixth, I needed to reduce the amount of time I was spending weeding and cultivating. Yes, I'd like to be in my garden all day long, but unfortunately, I have other chores that need tending to as well. My husband and I were trying to gauge how much time this hoe would save me from doing the same thing with a hand tool and we guessed it was at least 10 times faster if not more! 

Finally, I wanted a tool that didn't require a power source other than myself. No one can be 100% sustainable, but we can certainly reduce our dependency on power when it really isn't necessary; I just don't need it for every single tool in my arsenal. Someday I'd love to go off grid; the less stuff I have that needs power (whether gas or electric), the easier that transition will be. 

So there you have it. My reasons for choosing the Hoss. Let me take this opportunity to mention that I purchased my hoe before Hoss advertised with me on my blog and while they pay for advertising space, they do not pay me to write posts and promote their product. I promote only what I like and I choose advertisers carefully. And I must say... I love my Hoss!


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