Rotavator

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Rotavator

A rotavator is a tool that you will use to turn over the soil in your garden, vegetable patch or allotment. Usually the rotovator is a machine that you will walk behind following the set path you direct it in. You turn over and break up the soil with this machine to prepare the land for planting, laying turf, seeding and leveling. As with the majority of garden power tools and machinery, these comes in a variety of shapes and sizes with a differing degree of capabilities. There are 3 types of rotovator which are the frontline, the rear line and the mini. Front line versions are medium range machines which have their metal churning blades mounted in front of the wheels. The rear line version is a much bigger self driven version with the digging equipment usually mounted behind the wheels. And finally the mini rotavator often has no wheels at all and is powered by you to work just smaller areas such as flower borders and small vegetable beds.

As well as the small hand held rotavator there are also electric and petrol versions out there in the market for you to consider. The electric rotavator is obviously powered by mains electric and they are quite small designed for light use in and around flower beds and such. Though they are useful for turning over a reasonable amount of soil and removing  unwanted small weeds they are not really capable of deep digging or breaking up any turf. They are however very sufficient at aerating your soil, weeding and mixing in any compost or fertilizer.

On the other hand the petrol rotavator version of this machine is a step up in power and capability. These are middle of the road machines and are used predominantly by people with small to medium sized plots of land which need regular cultivation to maintain and get the best from them. These medium rotavators have enough power to be able to work at depths of around 6 to 10 inches.

For larger plots of land or heavy soil and tough turf then a large rotary hoe is required. They come with an engine size of at least 4.5 Hp and a working width of 500 mm or more. They make large jobs so much easier especially as they are fitted with a reverse gear which makes controlling them that so much easier.

Using a rotavator

 

The rotavator is a classic example of technology put to good use as a labour saving device. Once you have used one and begun to understand it you will realise why it has such a lasting appeal. They are very easy to operate and let you turn over your soil, removing any unwanted weeds, and prepping the land ready for  healthy cultivation or such jobs as laying a new lawn. Soil needs to be turned over regularly to give it new life and put new nutrients into it. You can do this manually, but it will take a lot of time and hard physical work. By going mechanical you will simplify everything for yourself.

Preparation is an all important factor before using machinery. Make sure that the machine that you have is a suitable one for the size of plot you are going to be working on. Check the type of earth that you will be turning over as well. Make sure that your rotavator is fully fuelled and especially keep an eye on the weather. You don’t want to be working in the rain as heavy rain will make your gardening job virtually impossible.

It’s true that the machine will be doing all the hard work for you but be under no false illusions. Yes, this machine is easy to use but you also need to be strong enough to guide and keep it on it’s course. You will have to steer it through turns at the end of each pass as well as possibly having to negotiate rocky or inclined ground. Handling a rotary hoe takes a little time to get used to so your day is not totally work free.

It depends upon the hardness of the soil and it’s consistency but always be prepared to make several passes in order to rotovate the soil thoroughly and to a good depth. The type of depth that you should be ideally looking for is around 10 cm. With 10 cm’s of depth you are sure of removing all surface weeds and if it’s a new lawn that you are going to be laying, it will be ensured to start life with a clean bill of health.

Because the rotary tiller is a machine that is powerful there is always a slight risk of injury.

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Choosing A Rotovator

 

Which Rotavator Do You Need For The Job ? It is either in the early Spring or late winter that gardener’s will begin to think about what to use to prepare their garden’s for the following months. Without proper planning and not choosing the right tools or machinery, a fortune can be spent and wasted. Below we will try to help with this issue and give you a couple of pointers that you should adhere to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rotavator Maintenance

 

Rotavator Safety

 

Reasons For Having A Rotavator

Laying Grass Turf

 

To lay lawn sod is a relatively quick and easy method of creating yourself an instant lawn. The actual laying of the sod itself is so simple to do, yet in order to get the best results you do need to prepare the soil properly and this is where the use of a rotavator comes in. The ideal time to lay turf is in Spring because the soil has begun to warm up and grass thrives in sunny conditions. The perfect scenario for new turf is in a spot where it will have at least 5 hours of sunshine a day and the spot is well drained. It is not advisable to lay turf in an area where there is standing water.

To lay turf first remove any weeds from the area. You can do this by hand, with weed killer or in extreme situations run over the area with your rotavator. Once all weeds have been removed till the soil to a depth of about 10 inches with your rotovator. If the soil is extremely compact you can amend with a couple of inches of rotted compost. Once turned over, rake the soil and take away any stones that have been worked up to the surface and then level the soil. You may need a light roller to do this properly.

The soil is now properly prepared and you just lay the turf in rows by unrolling it. Ensure that the edges are snug and not overlapping. As soon as you have finished laying the turf water it with about an inch of water.

Preparing Soil For Planting

 

The key to any success with gardening is having carefully prepared soil. Using a rotavator to turn over the soil and amending the soil to the correct PH levels and nutrient levels will result in healthy flowers, plants and trees. Nourishing your soil as well will optimize it and create a soil structure that will allow any root to flourish in it. Work hard and prepare your soil and it will repay you 10 fold.

To properly prepare soil remove any debris, stones and weeds from it. You can do this with a spade but ensure that you properly dig out the root systems of nettles and dandelions as these are perennials and will grow back the following year.

Test your soil to find out it’s PH level with a test kit you can buy from any decent gardening store. Most plants thrive in slightly acidic soil and PH level 7 is something you need to be aiming for. Turn your soil over with the rotovator to a depth of about 12 inches and add a layer of compost or manure to the top of the soil. Work the compost or manure in to the soil with a fork and mix it thoroughly. Allow to settle and then your soil is ready and fully prepared for new planting.

Clearing Overgrown Weeds

 

Any piece of land that is overgrown with weeds is an eyesore and a wasted opportunity in our opinion. Weed overrun ground can also devalue your property. With just a little work and the correct machinery this land can be turned in to an oasis of thriving plants, insect life and even wildlife. If you love the taste of fresh vegetables you can even turn this land in to an excellent and bountiful vegetable patch. To get rid of the overgrown weeds will be hard work but the procedures are simple enough.

Before beginning with weeding, go through the land to check that the weeds are not hiding any plants that you wish to keep. At the same time check for objects that can cause damage to your rotovator. Whilst checking for all these always remove any seed pods or weed heads as you go along. You don’t want these to drop to the ground as you are working because they can germinate and you will have a similar problem in the future. The next step is to cut down as many weeds as possible with a strimmer, pruning shears or a machete. Rake these up and you should be down to soil level now so that you can work on the root systems. You can do this manually by digging up the roots or use a rotavator to go over the whole area. The rotavator option is quicker and easier though and will leave your area fully turned over and ready for compost.

If any weeds remain you can use a weed killer on these which will take about 2 weeks. If using weed killer is not your thing then you can opt for an organic method of smothering the remaining weeds. This entails preventing light and water getting to the weeds by covering them with a rug or black plastic. This could take as long as a year to work, but it will.

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The first and main consideration for you before investing in a tiller is to actually ascertain how much land you are working with. The reason for this is because there are a vast range of rotavators out there all designed and manufactured for different specific jobs. The range starts out with very small versions that can be attached to a trimmer or brush cutter. These versions work very slowly and hence are only suitable for small sections of land that requires cultivating.

A step up from the small attachment is the garden rotovator that is not self propelled. People with small allotments tend to favour these for small to medium sized areas. However if you will be pulling and pushing the machine a lot then it is better to get one with an engine. The motorized version will travel better over uneven ground and not be as physically demanding on your body.

When you have ascertained the size of plot you intend to cultivate then you need to check the actual ground you will be rotavating. When the ground is very dry then it will be extremely difficult to break it up. The job will take a long time. And if the ground is waterlogged, you again will face a tough job. With too much water you will find yourself sinking in the ground and the rotovator getting stuck. To work perfectly what you require is a an in between level of these two.

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So be prepared properly and follow all safety procedures properly to avert any risk of injury. When in use keep an eye open for small kids or pets running around. You do not want them to be running and falling in front of the rotovator as you are using it. For your own safety it’s wise to wear a pair of eye defenders as there will be flying debris kicked up by the machine. Noise too is a problem that can be taken care of with the wearing of some ear defenders. And as usual when one is gardening it’s good to wear protective boots, a good pair of gardening gloves and strong sturdy gardening trousers. Never start the engine indoors and if you are a smoker make sure you do not have a cigarette on the go when you are refueling. And finally remember that it is the machine that is the work horse and not you. So protect your back and just let the machine do all the work.