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Mtd Southwest No. 21a 121r700 Gas Cultivator (43033511266)
(1 Epinions review)
You could do a lot worse
May 19, 2009
Review by jargent
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Did the job, easy to use once it's going, not too expensive
Cons:Difficult to Start, Loud, lots of vibration
The Bottom Line: For the price, I'd recommend this cultivator. It's tough to get started, but it gets the job done. It met my expectations.
I was looking for a tilling solution for my small (200 sq ft) vegetable garden that was somewhere between a hoe and a full blown roto tiller. A Cultivator was just what I was looking for, and the MTD / Yard Machines model here was right about the middle of the pack. I found it at my local big box hardware / farm supply store.
Recommend this product?
It came pre-assembled, which was a nice perk. It uses a 40:1 gas / oil mix, so I was able to use the leftover gas from my snowblower. The unit is light, so I got it to my garden in no time for the first till.
And then 15 minutes later, I had the thing started.
Like many small two-cycle engines, this was a chore to get going, requiring you to hold down the throttle while pulling the inconveniently placed starter rope and fiddling with the choke. For the life of me, I couldn't do it. Eventually, I went and got a clamp to hold down the throttle for me, which let me re-position myself better to do the rest of the job. When I followed the instructions to the letter, it started up fine. (And I should of course mention that clamping down the throttle is probably an astoundingly stupid thing to do that can lead to injury or dismemberment. But it worked for me, and if anyone asks I didn't tell you to do it.)
And good god was it loud! I stopped the unit and went in to get earplugs. After that, we were fine. It started back up with minimal effort (thanks to the clamped throttle) and I got to work on the garden. The engine was a little smelly, but not more than you'd expect for an exposed two-cycle engine. Not nearly as bad as my snowblower.
Once I got to work, it did a decent job. The tines are 8" diameter, and with some work I was able to get 4-5" inches deep in my rather clayish soil. I had to work it from some weird angles to get the desired results, but the garden got tilled. I wanted to put my weight into it more, but the design won't really let you (and there are warning signs not to do so). I was able to do an initial till in about 20 minutes, and a second till working in a dozen bags of compost in another 20 minutes. I probably could have gone faster, but I was being thorough.
When I finished up, I was pretty sore... keeping the thing under control required a lot of muscles I'm not accustomed to using, and the vibration of the unit wore me out. I used some vibration damping gloves, and my arms were still pretty numb by the end of it.
So, it did the job. Garden looks good, and that's the end result you're looking for. It wasn't too difficult to use once it got started, though it wore me out a bit. On the whole, not too bad.
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