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Battery-Powered Drill Powers Garden Tiller
If your garden is in a permanent well-tilled spot, Eliot Coleman's shallow tilling tool might be just what you need. It mixes up the top 2 in. of soil to create a perfect seedbed. What makes it unique is that it's powered by a battery-operated electric drill.
"I take all plant material off the beds at the end of the season and compost it," explains Coleman. "I wanted something to mix compost and soil amendments back into the top layer of the bed while breaking up the roots from the previous crop. With permanent beds like the ones we use, all deep tilling would do is bring up weed seeds."
Coleman realized he needed a lightweight, powered tiller that would fit his permanent, 30-in. bed planting style.
"The small, powered cultivators weren't built well enough, and the well-built ones were too big."
With the help of Art Haines, a former robotics engineer, Coleman designed the housing out of heavy-duty stainless steel and aluminum. An apron on the back spreads the tilled soil out and helps the unit float at the 2-in. level. Installing the drill is as simple as tightening down the chuck on the drive shaft. The shaft drives the upper sprocket of the simple chain drive on one side of the tiller. The side drive ensures that the 6 staggered steel tines can till across the full 15-in. working width.
The narrow width also kept the tiller weight down to an easy-to-handle 22 lbs. To turn the tiller on or off, a rope tied to the opposite side of the housing from the drive is run under the drill and up past the trigger. It then doubles back slightly and through a hole in the housing above the drill. From there it extends up to the handlebars. Pulling on the rope tightens the trigger, engaging the drive. To stop the tiller, all Coleman has to do is release the tension on the rope.
Oiled ash handles give it a classic look with easy handling. Handles can be offset to allow the operator to walk alongside the bed.
The tiller retails for $299 and is marketed primarily through Johnny's Selected Seeds.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Johnny's Selected Seeds, 955 Benton Ave., Winslow, Maine 04901 (ph 207 861-3999; or 877 564-6697; www.johnnyseeds.com).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #5