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Mantis Tiller Saves Time – Not! Plus Help Your Hedgehog

I’ve popped down to the plot each day just to water, which is pretty unusual for April. Where are our April showers? Today I watered again, including the potatoes on plot 5 under fleece and decided to prepare three trenches for the maincrop potatoes.

I thought that I’d save time by using the Mantis to dig out the trenches. I’ve got the special tines designed to make trenches and just needed to change them. This is where the fun started,

First I need to unlock the bicycle lock that holds the Mantis in the shed but I dropped the key into a gap and it took me ten minutes of fiddling about to retrieve the blessed thing.

OK, now I’ve got the Mantis out and just need to change the tines. Well I’ve not changed the tines since last year and the little clips that secure them are stuck. If I’d had some penetrating oil it would have helped but I didn’t so much yanking and banging ensued.

Half an hour later I got the first one changed but the second wasn’t so bad and only took five minutes. It then took me about ten minutes to make three trenches.  So, a ten minute job that took an hour. Perhaps it would have been faster to use the spade.

Help Your Hedgehog and Other Wildlife

We’ve been enjoying the sunshine and warm weather but the gardener’s friend the hedgehog has been suffering from dehydration. Now gardeners know that hedgehogs eat lots of our worst enemy the slug so we can return the favour and put some water out for them and the other wild creatures that are suffering in this weather.

Just a shallow bowl of  water can save a few lives and only takes a minute to put out and fill. Even if you don’t think you have hedgehogs about, it’s worth doing. They are nocturnal and rather shy so they may well be around even if we don’t see them.


This is the top of plot 5 where I have a patch of onions, I’m a great believer in spreading things around so if a disease hits one patch of onions, another may survive. These onions were started from sets in the greenhouse at the same time as I planted sets direct. I’d say they were a week ahead from their good start.

You can’t really make out the broad beans, two rows of them to the right of the onions. They are to the south of the onions so they will not shade them.

Half the compost pile behind the shed has gone already. When moving it, it seems a huge amount but it doesn’t go as far as you might think.

Onions, Broad Beans and Compost

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “Mantis Tiller Saves Time – Not! Plus Help Your Hedgehog
  1. Will says:

    Oh dear John! Rookie mistake not having some WD40 in the shed – excellent for freeing off rusted things and for spraying on metal to prevent condensation/ damp form making them go rusty in the first place. Not sure abt the idea of a bicycle lock to ‘secure’ a tiller that wld cost £350 new – I’d be keeping it in the house under the stairs (or somewhere similar); esp’ as you live close to yr plots anyway.

    Excellent site

  2. John says:

    Actually I was sure I had some WD40 in the shed, in fact I may have. The rookie mistake is having such a messy , crowded shed I can’t find anything 🙂
    I’d prefer to keep the Mantis and the Merry Tiller at home but space is at a premium there. I know the bike lock won’t stop thieves, neither will the padlock on the door but it adds a delay and a barrier.
    You just have to hope they move on to easier pickings.

  3. Chris says:

    Hi John
    Just wondered if you would recommend the Mantis? Does it do what it says it does? Do you have the 2 stroke or 4 stroke?

    Good site by the way.

  4. John says:

    Thanks Chris – I’ve the 2 stroke and yes I would recommend them. They aren’t a rotovater but on light soil they’re all you need. I think for heavy clay you need a hefty machine like my Merry Tiller and then use the Mantis to gain a fine tilth.
    They’re so light you can use them in a deep bed, which saves time as well.
    I’m even looking into selling them myself!

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