Anyone who is involved in gardening / landscaping or hobbyists who have a small park in their home appreciate the feeling of enjoying a beautiful green space. However, regardless of whether we have a small garden, a formal rose garden, a landscaping of pots and raised soil, or a simple lawn blanket, getting that pleasant feeling takes a little work.
The tillage is a means to cultivate the soil or preparing it for planting, and it is the most labor-intensive part of the gardening task. Tillage is necessary because the soil is often rocky, compacted, or heavily weedy. Neither of these conditions is conducive to lawn cultivation, plants, flowers or greens and vegetables. Therefore, for prepare the soil for sowing, we have to till it, sometimes making soil corrections on the fly, such as adding compost or fertilizer.
The easiest way to carry out this tillage task is with a shovel, although if we work on a very small scale, a manual mini-grower will be the right tool. However, for a much more practical and fast performance in larger extensions, a motorized cultivator.
It is not known for sure who invented the first motorized cultivator, but it is definite that it is a tool modern patented during the first half of the 20th century. The first models were pulled by steam tractors, followed by others that had four-horsepower engines and weighed almost 200 kg. Over time, these machines were decreasing in size and increasing in maneuverability and operability to facilitate an already arduous task.
Components and operation of the cultivator
In fact, the cultivators they are pretty simple machines. The main component of any cultivator Are the spikes or teeth, that is, the rotating metal blades that excavate the soil.
To better illustrate this component, let’s look at the way a cordless cultivator In the following video, which although it is not presented in our language, clearly shows the operation of the machine.
Now that we understand how a cultivatorLet’s focus on these teeth. Depending on the size of the machine, there may be two or four sets of teeth. Although they are sharp on the edge, the secret to the effectiveness of tillage teeth is not the edge, but its shape. As the figure below shows, each tooth consists of four blades curved in opposite directions: two are pointing towards the machine and the other two are pointing away from the machine.
This particular arrangement of the teeth prevents the removed material from accumulating on the blades. While all the teeth work together to aggressively excavate the soil, the ones pointing away from the machine do the thickest cut.
The other main components of a cultivator are:
- a handle similar to that of a lawn mower
- the motor, which can be electric or fuel
- a power switch, usually arranged on the handle
- the wheels, which can be rear or front
A tool for every need
Before proceeding, let’s clarify a concept. Although the term «cultivator»Is used interchangeably for machines that they dig up hard earth or what they mix loose soilIt is not, as we can see, the same task. Someone compared these concepts to using an electric mixer to mix a salad and a fork to mix a cake mix. Therefore, it is important to be clear about these ideas in order to use the tool correct in our garden.
- Hoe, motor hoe or plow: is the tool designed to dig and mix hard soil to form a loose soil bed. It is very powerful and is therefore generally manufactured in fuel-powered models. The following figure shows a typical tiller.
- Cultivator or motocultivator: It is not a tool designed for digging hard soil, but for mixing loose soil (for example, produced with a motor hoe) and stir compost or fertilizer. It produces a soil mix much finer than a hoe, making it ideal for putting the finishing touches on a garden before planting begins. It can run on fuel, or on electricity, in both corded and cordless models.
Since this article is about cordless electric cultivators, we are going to address only this type of machine.
Details of cordless growers
As we can see in the following figure, almost all wireless growers They feature a front tooth and rear wheel design.
In this case, the function of the wheels is simply to guide the cultivator by the terrain. The actual direct drive comes from the teeth digging into the ground and pushing the unit forward. To transport the cultivator From one place to another, the user pushes the handle down, which raises the rotating teeth, just as we saw in the video. When the new location is reached, the front part is put back in contact with the ground and the teeth continue their task.
The teeth of all cultivators They can be adjusted to determine the depth, depending on how much we want to penetrate the ground. For its part, the width of the path is determined by the number of teeth in operation and this is obviously related to the size of the machine. Cordless models generally offer working width and depth adjustment features as shown in the figure.
As its name implies, cordless cultivators They work with 36 V batteries, usually two packs of 18 V each, as we see in the figure below. In general, these are lithium-ion batteries, which have great advantages over nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) or nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries and ensure an autonomy of about 45 minutes. Some manufacturers offer universal batteries and chargers, which we already dealt with in a timely manner, which allow them to be exchanged between various tools wireless of the same brand.
Another component today almost required of all cordless tool and that of course incorporate the cultivators from recognized manufacturers is the brushless motor, which, thanks to its design, ensures a long battery life, while offering greater power than a conventional motor, as well as convenience features in terms of size, weight and noise generation from the tool.
Maintenance and care of a cultivator
Once we have our motocultivator we must learn how to properly care for it. Tillage is a dirty job and therefore the cultivator it will require a bit more maintenance than many other household tools.
The most important rule for the care of our cultivator is to keep it clean. For that, every time we finish using it, we can use a hose to direct a jet of water to the moving parts, paying special attention to the teeth. If we see small encrusted objects or roots curled around the shaft, let’s be sure to remove them.
On the other hand, the teeth lose their sharpness after a while, especially if they are used in rocky soils. To sharpen them, we can place the machine face up on a table or workbench and gently sharpen the teeth with a file. When it is time to change the teeth, it is advisable to contact the technical service provided by the manufacturer.
Non-moving parts, such as the vents and motor housing, also require cleaning with a cloth, or by blowing with low pressure compressed air.
In addition, we must take care that all the fixing elements (screws, threads, etc.) are always well tightened, because that way we will work safely.
When we don’t use the motocultivator For a while, we will keep it in a dry place. To save space we can loosen the star nuts and fold the handles as seen in the previous video and in this figure.
Its useful life will depend to a large extent on the care that we can provide to the grower, so that, with proper use and maintenance according to the manufacturer’s instructions, we will be able to enjoy many years of work in our park or garden.