You know you REALLY like a power tool when you need to give it a name. We REALLY like Atilla the Mantis, so called because well its a tiller, see? tiller ’tilla… ah well.
Thanks to Atilla the plot has gone from looking like a candidate for a warning note to looking like we’re trying and sort of succeeding, tilling a plot takes about a tenth of the time that digging does and we’ve managed to plant up about half of the plot and weed nearly all of the bits except the fiddly peripheries and paths.
It wasn’t a cheap buy – about £400, that’s the cost of about 5 months of veggies if we were buying instead of growing (we eat a lot of veggies) – so it wipes out the financial advantage of having a plot this year, but it does mean we can keep the plot going when otherwise other commitments might have made it too difficult. Lovely Atilla.
I don’t think we’d have gone for it if it weren’t for the number of other people down the allotments who have a tiller, and the Mantis in particular. People who have one seem to have better quality soil in general, even with digging twice and hacking away with a hoe and rake we couldn’t get as fine a tilth as they seemed to. So we went for it, Mantis’s national office turned out to be just down the road so we phoned their their tiny show room and picked it up.
Running the thing is a bit like mowing backwards, you keep dragging it slowly backwards otherwise with dry hard lumpy ground it’s apt to dance around abit. With the tines curling one way you turn over and break up soil, facing the other way you cut just under the surface which is good for bulk weeding.