March was an exciting month of seed-starting at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS office — we've been putting our Multipurpose Plant Grow Light Seed Starting Book Case to serious use! Our onions, broccoli, pepper and tomato plants are all basking in the flourescent glow of the lights and the daily care of our editorial staff. Now that April has arrived, we've finally gotten a chance to beat a bit of cabin fever and get working outside in the soil. We took out hoes and shovels, dug a couple trenches and planted our potatoes. Our seedlings have also enjoyed taking a sun bath every so often, preparing for their future full-time residency in the garden beds.
Thanks to an incredible gift from Mantis, we were able to easily till and create our beds and paths from last year's garden. The 2-Cycle Tiller/Cultivator from Mantis helped us to completely reestablish our walking paths, all in about half an hour! Our friend from GRIT magazine, Caleb Regan, has worked with his fair share of farm equipment, and had this to say about his experience building and operating this smaller tiller:
"Putting it together was a piece of cake; just make sure you have a 7/16 or 11 mm ratchet wrench with an extension to engage the nuts and bolts down by the motor. I didn’t, and that was really the only time-consuming part since I had to use a bulky wrench on the bolt and a pair of pliers to prevent the nut from spinning.
I was surprised by the power the Mantis tiller has for such a small motor and how deep that thing can go. If you give it enough time and pull it backwards, you can get as deep as you want to go to till a garden plot. And moving it around is no sweat at all, I could easily pick the entire machine up and carry it with one arm. I’ve never operated such a small, maneuverable tiller. While I love running a big, powerful Troy-Bilt, the Mantis 2-stroke is perfect for the small urban plot."
Take this opportunity to keep ahead of your own weeds, prepare your garden beds and start the spring planting season by entering to win your own 2-Cycle Tiller/Cultivator from Mantis.
Stay tuned for more garden updates: Later this week we plan to plant peas and build our own tepees to support the peas as they grow.
Jennifer Kongs is the Managing Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. When she’s not working at the magazine, she’s likely working in her garden, on the local running trails or in her kitchen instead. You can find Jennifer on Twitter or Google+.
Photo Credit: Nate Skow