In honor of fall bed prep I have decided to buy a new used tiller. I have been using my late grandfather's adorable little mantis for the past several years and while it's done me great service I think it may be time to retire it to work in the raised beds up front.
I have found a troy-bilt junior for a very reasonable price. It has a strong trans, clean carburetor and new spark plugs. It's 3.5hp, 15" width, 4 stroke and rear tine.
My little mantis is somewhere between a .9 and 1.3hp, 9" width, 2 stroke front tine tiller so making the jump up to 3.5hp and 15 inches should be pretty great!
I'll be doing most of my fall bed prep with cardboard, composted manure (horse and duck), straw and tilling this year. I'm going to be starting a few large beds out in the back of the old orchard and I'll have to put up some considerable fencing to keep the sheep out I'll wager, but they only have access when I let them into the orchard anyway, so that'll be supervised and sporadic. I'm looking forward to having sheep to complain about.
Something else I'm looking forward to is dividing and planting time for fall raspberries!
Our 30-bush raspberry patch is big, but I really would prefer if it was a 50 bush raspberry patch! I'll be trimming, transplanting and expanding this fall and I may put in a smattering of golden raspberries as well to appease my geeky love for funny-lookin produce. I generally buy my stock from Nourse Berry Farm but they only sell spring plants and I'd really like to get mine in the ground before freeze this fall. Hmm...
I may consider using Miller again, but I've had patchy success with their plants in the past, though they've always tried to replace their dead plants with less-dead plants if I complain.
Edit: Uh oh. I just discovered Nourse Berry Farm has 2011 ordering open already, and they're offering Mara Des Bois strawberries again. I might be in trouble.