Garden Tillers, Wash Tubs and Dirty Words

   Written by on May 26, 2014 at 11:58 am

I just bought another garden tiller. Now, keep in mind that I realize almost no one really needs or wants a garden tiller. What they want is their garden tilled. They don’t want to do it personally but a garden that needs tilling just cries for a tiller. It is always cheaper and more effective to hire someone with a tiller to do the job but paying someone to do something you should do for yourself just seems wrong.

The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

After purchasing a tiller the proper way to use it is simple. If it actually runs you crank it and take it to the garden.  Fill the gas tank with exactly one cup of gas. Trust me, you won’t need any more than that.  Then you make a few passes until you get it adjusted. Then you take a break and never return. There are literally thousands of gardens sprinkled across Virginia with a tiller that hasn’t been cranked for years sitting beside them. Proper tiller owners cover them with the traditional old washtub.  Less proper owners use the ubiquitous blue tarps, which degrade within a year until nothing is left but blue tatters waving in the breeze.  Others just leave them sitting.

All three methods are probably pretty effective as a scarecrow but it is always cheaper to use something else as a foundation for scarecrows.

This is why you should never buy a new tiller. You can have your choice of hundreds of used tillers, many with the paint still on the tines for less than half the cost of a new one.  Remember you aren’t actually going to use it anyway.

Now, if your new used tiller doesn’t run you have three choices. You can keep pulling the starter rope until your character degrades and you start using ugly language. If you typically use ugly language in general conversation you do not need a tiller. Save your money and cuss for a few minutes. It will do as much good tilling your garden as the tiller. Option two is to take it to the repair shop. They will get it running like new for only half of the cost of a new one. Then you can refer to paragraph two. Make a few passes-park it beside the garden-cover it with a washtub-hire someone to till your garden.

Option three is my personal choice. Buy a junked tiller for a few bucks-unload it beside the garden, cover it with a washtub and go get a cup of coffee.  For many years (before I could afford an actual junked tiller) I covered a broken kid’s wagon with the washtub. It worked almost as well as a tiller.

Over the past six or five years I’ve purchased an average of a tiller a year, some of which actually ran. That is, they ran until they spent several years under the washtub.

This year I discovered I not only needed a tiller, I wanted one.  I conducted a search and corralled five of them.  Two actually ran, two needed only minor repairs and one had a blown motor.  Fortunately, the one with the blown motor had the most important characteristic of a good tiller. That is, it rolls easily when it isn’t working.  I rolled it to the garden, covered it with the washtub and left it.

I had the second one running great when a terrible thing happened. I was at a local store and another customer who bought a new tiller last year brought it in to sell. I was shocked. That man has no respect for tiller tradition. That poor tiller had never even seen a washtub or a blue tarp. He used it the obligatory one time, put it in a shed and then brought it in to sell.

What was worse is he actually priced it to sell.   That’s why I will never buy new yard equipment. Once it has been used it is only worth half of what you paid. It doesn’t matter if it has been used one day or one year or two years, the price is the same.  After the third year the price is steady as long as it is running.  If it isn’t running the value and the price drops until it gets to “free if you take it.” I can leave this one under the tub for a couple of years and still get my money back. I might even use it.

My bride Management actually approved the purchase providing I sell the extra five tillers I have in inventory.

Here is the ad. For sale: Troy-Bilt Rear-tine Tiller, runs good, includes one cup of gas and a washtub, $300 OBO 434-547-5415.

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