From wasteland to garden

by Andy Bryenton

Gardening fever grips the country as spring works its magic — and there’s two distinct kinds of garden chores which we’re all facing, especially those of us with small acreage lifestyle blocks. 

The first is to chop back the ravenous weeds which encroach on our little slice of paradise. The second is to establish productive gardens to deliver fresh vegetables to the table.

An ideal solution for planting out large areas would be to simply plough through the overgrowth, kikuyu and scrubby weeds. But that’s a job for a big tractor, right? Well, not necessarily. The research team at Husqvarna have been busy tinkering with the classic hand-guided rotary tiller, and what they’ve come up with could be a game changer for those who want to lay garden beds without the back breaking work.

Their TR 430 places the engine at the front and the tines at the rear, meaning there’s more weight bearing down on the cutting edge as it attacks the ground.

As the machine draws itself forward in a pair of cleated tyres the blades counter rotate for maximum resistance. 

Although there’s little resistance when those sharp tines hit the scrub.

As well as turning and separating the soil into particulate mass, the blades of the TR 430 mulch anything already growing on top into finger-length chaff, ready to rot down and feed your chosen crop.

A clever anti-tangle system means that even long and whippy tendrils — such as those of the dreaded kikuyu grass — don’t foul up the spindle or the blade assembly.

Even this tough, fibrous matter meets its demise as the tiller creeps forward, reducing thick overgrowth and densely packed soil to a nicely crumbly consistency. A couple of passes is enough to cultivate down a good hand’s width, meaning that simple broadcast sowing along with a little fertiliser can complete your new vege patch.

A wide cutting swathe means it’s possible to establish gardens for separate crops with walkways in between. If you’re one of the many lifestyle block owners who has come to the country with plans for self-sufficiency, this new take on the rotary tiller concept could be a real time saver. And with the engine supplied by another Kiwi rural favourite — Subaru — you can be sure that this machine will deliver the goods season after season. All you have to do is pick a slice of paddock, point, and go.