The commercial tiller

 A commercial tiller is the machinery of choice for market gardening on a small surface. Versatile, sturdy, and easy to use, it can perform most soil work specific to the crop vegetable grower. Primarily designed for small areas, this tool is more widely used in Europe, and more especially in Italy, where they are found among the best.

We started working with these machines after having used, for a few seasons, the small garden tillers that are found in most hardware stores. Although these allow correct tillage, the difference between the two is immense. The gear transmission, PTO, and locked differential of the commercial tiller make it a much more powerful machine that can be maneuvered with more precision. Since the attachments can be changed, the commercial tiller is more like a tractor. In English, it is also called "two-wheel tractor" (literally, “two-wheeled tractor”).

The commercial tiller can be fitted with a fitting for quick installation of different tools: snowblower, generator, lawn mower grass, and even a hay baler. These devices are distributed by different companies which can advise you on the choice of a machine, the wheel dimensions, equipment, etc. Addresses - its companies are suggested in the appendix.

When we established ourselves at the Jardins de la Grelinette and considerably increase our production, the decision to equip ourselves with a commercial tiller instead of a vegetable tractor seemed obvious to us. Unlike a tractor, which requires a large amount of uncultivated space to turn at the end of the row, the tiller can swivel on himself. We were, therefore, able to arrange our gardens without wasting too much space.

We also discovered that to work with narrower plank widths than conventional market gardening, soil tillage tools mechanics that we preferred could all be harnessed to a tiller. It is much easier to find tools with a width of 75 centimeters for the tiller than for the tractors.
But ultimately, the most determining factor was the purchase price. A new commercial tiller, including a flail mower and a rotary harrow, retailed at a fraction of the cost of a tractor used market gardener, even among the smallest. This is a choice we have never regretted.

The tiller is usually equipped with a rototiller. As I explained previously, this tool harms the soil structure, because it pulverizes it and causes it to lose its aggregation, thus making it more vulnerable to compaction. Nevertheless, it is a tool that has its advantages. It is useful for mix soil amendments and buries them with green manure, as well as to prepare the beds of seed when we run out of time for cover with a tarpaulin or to remove residue from culture by hand. It can also be used for early sowing in spring when the soil is still cold. A quick passage of the tiller brings oxygen to the ground, which heats it and accelerates production. At this time of year, the worms of soil and other soil organisms (which in any case do not like to be sprayed by the rotary tiller) are not present in the soil. We don't are therefore not too bothered at the idea of ​​reversing layers of soil on some boards.

In our gardens, the main working tool of sol is a rotary harrow. This has the advantage of working the soil with tines that pivot on an axis vertical. It follows that the soil layers are not inverted and that there is no risk of creating a plow base by vertical compression of the soil.
The latter is more mixed than pulverized. The rotary harrow is also equipped with a roller which makes it possible to seal the board surface, which ensures better seed-soil contact at the seedbed. seed, and a crank that adjusts easily the desired working depth.

The passage of a rotary harrow makes it possible to obtain a board perfectly conditioned for the transplanting and sowing in open ground. All in all, it is a very good tool and I recommend you test them before purchasing any other tillage or digging equipment. The only downside is its fairly heavyweight, which makes this tool more difficult to maneuver than a rotary tiller.

Our tiller is also equipped with a flail mower which crushes green manure and residues of cultures with astonishing ease. It's a very powerful tool to which no culture seems to resist. We regularly mow fertilizers greens measuring more than a meter without suffocating the device. The arrival of the flail mower in our arsenal of tools came to solve the difficulty that we had to bury the green manure. This latter, when they are only mown, tends to wrap around the tines of the tiller and to stuff its case. The flail mower eliminates this problem in shredding crops into pieces, which allows us to bury them easily. It also allows us to clear the surface of an ancient culture in a short time, a job that we used to do by hand.