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Electric rotavators


Kurt Barlow
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Kurt Barlow

Having acquired 2 allotments in the last two weeks I now have the task of digging them over (both clay soils. The smaller of the two is in reasonable condition but the larger one is in a poor state. I shall turn a third of it into raised beds as I have several builders crates for patio tiles and some old sleepers. 

Anyway petrol rotavators are too heavy to move at around 69kg. The advice I have had at the allotment is don't go too deep or you just bring up the clay so it basically needs a light till on the surface. An electric rotavator with a 200mm till depth should be fine. 

Screwfix have 1400W rotavators for £99 and is about 22Kg. 

Of course you then need a genset which would have multiple uses and no DOSBODDER should be without a Gennie. 

What size genny do the DOSBODDERS reckon you need to get a 1400W rotovator going given the start up draw. The genny would also be handy for running our electric mower and strimmer. 

Would 1700w be too low - Machine mart have a good light duty unit for about £250. 

other option is to hire a light unit and see how it goes with that. 

 

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I think you are talking about two different things. There are tillers (mains electric, cordless and two stroke 2bhp/1500W) and there are rotavators (heavy, much more powerful, wheeled and self propelling)

The small two stroke tillers are nowhere near that weight and are comparable in performance to decent electric tillers. If you want a tiller, in your situation it makes sense to get a two stroke one.

That said, if you have heavy compacted weed covered clay, a tiller will just bounce off it and be effectively useless. You will need around a 8bhp or more rotavator.

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Kurt Barlow
4 hours ago, NTB said:

I think you are talking about two different things. There are tillers (mains electric, cordless and two stroke 2bhp/1500W) and there are rotavators (heavy, much more powerful, wheeled and self propelling)

The small two stroke tillers are nowhere near that weight and are comparable in performance to decent electric tillers. If you want a tiller, in your situation it makes sense to get a two stroke one.

That said, if you have heavy compacted weed covered clay, a tiller will just bounce off it and be effectively useless. You will need around a 8bhp or more rotavator.

Cheers

The ground isnt too compacted. Just needs 5-7 inches tilling. 

It looks like you need 2.5x rated power to start up an induction motor which is a shit because that size genny is pricey. 

Speedy hire is near me and they have camon rotavators - if we can get one directly in back of car - up and down scaffold boards may go down that route. 

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They may deliver/collect if you can make it work timewise.

Without seeing the ground - if you can stick a fork in it and lever up a clod and it crumbles with a couple of bashes from the fork then a tiller will probably get through it. Otherwise, a proper rotavator will be needed.

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Another alternative is not try and break the ground on the bad plot at all and as well as raised beds use permaculture type approach - very thick layer of compost on cardboard that acts as weed suppression. Advantage is you don't disturb the weed seeds which may be legion on an unneeded plot. Only had an allotment once and it was a fallow and overgrown ess that never came good so very quickly gave it up.  Concentrate on root crops in the good plot and fast growing small stuff on the permaculture beds.

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Kurt Barlow
58 minutes ago, onlyme said:

Another alternative is not try and break the ground on the bad plot at all and as well as raised beds use permaculture type approach - very thick layer of compost on cardboard that acts as weed suppression. Advantage is you don't disturb the weed seeds which may be legion on an unneeded plot. Only had an allotment once and it was a fallow and overgrown ess that never came good so very quickly gave it up.  Concentrate on root crops in the good plot and fast growing small stuff on the permaculture beds.

We just had some landscape gardening done and I have recycled the old sleepers and the paving slab crates with builders bags to use as raised beds. Thats covered about a quarter of the plot. Also got half a dozen old glass bins and two cut up water butts. 

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23 hours ago, Kurt Barlow said:

Having acquired 2 allotments in the last two weeks I now have the task of digging them over (both clay soils. The smaller of the two is in reasonable condition but the larger one is in a poor state. I shall turn a third of it into raised beds as I have several builders crates for patio tiles and some old sleepers. 

Anyway petrol rotavators are too heavy to move at around 69kg. The advice I have had at the allotment is don't go too deep or you just bring up the clay so it basically needs a light till on the surface. An electric rotavator with a 200mm till depth should be fine. 

Screwfix have 1400W rotavators for £99 and is about 22Kg. 

Of course you then need a genset which would have multiple uses and no DOSBODDER should be without a Gennie. 

What size genny do the DOSBODDERS reckon you need to get a 1400W rotovator going given the start up draw. The genny would also be handy for running our electric mower and strimmer. 

Would 1700w be too low - Machine mart have a good light duty unit for about £250. 

other option is to hire a light unit and see how it goes with that. 

 

I have an attachment to go on my petrol Stihl multi tool.  Could be good in stone free soil.  Bit of a faff and if really needed for a renovation I would rent a wheeled one.

Re. a gen.  Depends on the type of motor but x2 is usually the min although I've even seen x3 mentioned, especially as some gens specs can be misleading.  As you suggest, the gen needs to cover the start up spike not just the continuous watts and gens are often quoted at peak power (for a few seconds/minutes) not continuous.  You'll need to look at all specs closely.  There are some calculators on the net  although many are US.

I do a lot of maintenance work.  Petrol for me, always, even though I look at electric each time I need something new.  I hire major plant that I only use now and then. 

Update:  Here's an example.  I had a smallish electric log splitter.  I ran it from the mains which restricted its portability.  I did use the appropriate extension lead for further reach but the capacitor still went in the end (there's a debate about voltage drops).  Decided to upgrade to a larger one.  Initial focus was on electric with a gen.  The biggest splitter had a 3kw motor which is the max you can run from a standard mains and even them some say you should use a special (16 amp?) outlet.  That 3kw would have needed a very big gen to handle the start up current.  I too thought the gen could cover other equipment but tbh that was unlikely and I already had plenty of other petrol stuff.  I found one splitter which miraculously had the same power but only a 1.5Kw motor.  But reading the specs closely, it had another motor for start up which meant the same old 3kw start up!  I called the manufacturer who could not even tell me the required start up current despite going away for a day to check!  I bought a petrol splitter in the end.  The right decision for me.  Petrol in a gen or petrol in an engine?  Toe points of failure or one?  But does depend on the bigger picture like how many other items you have/need.  I could have just rented a log splitter for this big job but this is now a community asset (see prepping/CBDC threads!) and of potential use in my work.

Edited by Harley
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sarahbell

You need deep top soil.

So digging an awful lot of muck in every year for ever or go no fig and add a huge layer of muck and top it up each year.

But well done! 

 

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Jesus Wept

I would not bother digging it over.

You will just be bringing all the weed seeds to the surface and chasing your tail. 
 

Get yourself a load of cardboard and weed free topsoil / compost and mulch. 
 

 

 

Edited by Vendetta
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One percent
Just now, Vendetta said:

I would not bother digging it over.

You will just be bringing all the weed seeds to the surface and chasing your tail. 
 

Get yourself a load of cardboard and weed free compost and mulch. 
 

 

 

Much too much like hard work. Just concrete it. 

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Kurt Barlow

Just hauled back 3 dustbin sacks of seaweed to form a nice low down layer in the raised beds. 

Found a super dupa skate fishing spot on the blackwater;)

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  • 3 weeks later...
the gardener
Posted (edited)
On 25/04/2021 at 08:42, Vendetta said:

I would not bother digging it over.

You will just be bringing all the weed seeds to the surface and chasing your tail. 
 

Get yourself a load of cardboard and weed free topsoil / compost and mulch. 
 

 

 

Dig / rotavate it. Give it a week or two for the weed seeds to germinate and then lightly nuke the surface with your handy flame gun.

 

sheen-flame-gun-using.jpg

Edited by the gardener
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