The Mantis Two Stroke Tiller/Cultivator

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I purchased one of these three years ago, it sat in the box awaiting assembley for 6 months, but was eventually put together by my son.

The adverts show genteel ladies, with immaculate hair styles quietly tending bountiful gardens, the reality is not quite like that! This little machine is a beast, and packs a powerful punch, a session with it leaves me with sore shoulders and back for a few days. I do not mean this in a negative way, it really is amazing, I use mine for digging over the hard packed chicken runs, which it does with relish. It does need a strong hand, as on a hard surface it has a tendancy to skip, and if too close to a fence can wrap itself around plastic netting very quickly..oops, done that twice so far! Even this is not too disastrous as the tines are easily removed and the fence untwisted, then out with cable ties and bits of net to fix the hole in the fruit cage!

Starting can be easy,  or can be tricky. I see that now it comes with a kickstand, which would make life easier. I find restarting when hot it can be temperamental, leave it for 5 minutes and it obliges. It does not like big stones, these get jammed, and need swift removal, as do roots, long weeds and string. When you get going, it covers a huge amount of ground. Having bought it originally for use in my permanent chicken pens, I now use it all over the acre of grround around the house, and it always come up trumps. My friend spent over £400 on a bigger machine, he only used it a few times before a stone got jammed and knackered the engine, whilst I still soldier on with my Mantis which because of its size is easy to use, store and even after being unused for 6 months still starts quickly. Starting the engine and a little throttle means you can walk it to the area of the garden which needs attention, or carry it in a wheelbarrow.

There are many accessories available, I would recommend buying a service pack for spare air filters and clips, I have just added a plough to mine and it is brilliant for earthing up the potatoes. I have also added a kick stand, as it makes staring easier and it stands more tidily in the shed!

If you want a good, reliable little machine to help you in the garden, this is it, but not if you have  a dodgy back or shoulders! or are pregnant, it is still a lot easier than hand digging and produces a good tilth.

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