Seed Swaps


30 May 2012
Sunny 24°C / 75°F

Yesterday afternoon brought some pretty severe thunderstorms: torrential downpours, hail, lightening, the works. It was a lot of rain – based on the way that empty buckets and the kiddie pool were overflowing I’d estimate that it wasn’t far off the 40 – 80mm Montreal received. When I went out to pick this morning everything was very squishy and the pathways were all flooded. I managed to pick, and plant the one bed that I actually prepared properly in the fall, but I’ve pretty much left the existing garden alone. I think it will take a few days to dry out.

The technician arrived and was able to solve the left tine not engaging problem pretty quickly. Apparently I’d managed to put a shear pin into the tines but not into the tiller. I’m not sure how to describe it, except perhaps “design flaw”. The technician agreed that if a woman had designed the tiller it would probably be a lot easier to change the shear bolts and would likely work a lot better in general.

He replaced both bolts with tougher ones and I took the tiller out to the field to test it out. The pin broke off within 75 feet of tilling (25 feet of which were on the same 50 foot pass.) The technician was surprised and said he had to see this for himself. So he replaced the pin again and tried tilling himself. He managed to get across about 6 times.

The technician’s conclusion was that the tiller really can’t deal with rocks and that our soil is so rocky the tiller will really only work well after years of removing rocks. I have no interest in repeatedly tilling the soil season after season. I really wanted a tiller to help with turning sod into garden. I really think that the salesman shouldn’t have sold it to me. The technician commented that the salespeople at the Sears stores are not well qualified to sell tillers and may as well be selling clothing. I’m thinking that along with Craftsman, I may actually write to the store who sold the machine.

After he left, I was able to till a bit more (in my super soggy soil that I really wouldn’t have started to work except that I wanted to test the tiller while the technician was there to fix it). Hopefully I’ll be able to go back over it as it dries out and kill the grass/weeds off in time to plant squash, cucumbers & melons. It’s getting close to my 100 days of good growing, but worst case I’ll row cover them in the fall.

First CSA Harvest
I harvested greens, onions, and an herbal bouquet for my first CSA basket. This was two weeks ahead of schedule, but I’m a little concerned that in a few weeks there won’t be much if the soil doesn’t dry out enough to get summer veggies planted soon.

1 – Lettuces & spinach
2 – Herbal bouquet (winter savory, thyme, chives blossoms, and tarragon)




Oh, wow! So sorry to hear about the tiller woes. Your greens are looking great, though!

Posted on 31 May 12 (almost 4 years ago)

we are being told that we are to get possibly 40mm of rain starting tonight and tomorrow. I did do a bit of a water on the things that were freshly planted just in case it bypasses us. It often does.

I love the look of freshly picked produce sitting in a bowl! :-)

Posted on 01 Jun 12 (almost 4 years ago)

I feel your pain! We can’t till here for the same reason, that’s why we went straight to raised beds.

Posted on 01 Jun 12 (almost 4 years ago)


Folia Helper


What’s the spec’s of the bolts that he gave you? Did he give them a grade number, perhaps a designation to ask or look for that might be stamped on the head of the bolt?

Posted on 22 Oct 12 (over 3 years ago)

They’re grade 8 bolts. The local hardware/country store seemed to think I’d need to visit like an auto shop or other speciality retailer to find them. I think there are five marks on the head, whereas the ones I’m able to get have no marks on the head.

Posted on 22 Oct 12 (over 3 years ago)


Folia Helper


Ah, tough ones then. That’s a big jump in shear strength, strength full stop! The ungraded ones are bottom of the range and I can see why they would have failed so easily, the manufacturer has erred well on the side of caution; either that or the gearbox is crap. Seeing as the gearbox has survived to-date then it seems to be up to the task.

Yes, automotive or specialist (bolt shop) would be more likely to have them, as stock lines in fact. They’d also be able to give you metric equivalents. I’m sure the bolt hole isn’t too exact and has some wriggle room – 6mm fits a 1/4 hole, 8mm is as near as dammit to 5/16 so should fit in a sloppy toleranced hole, but 10mm might struggle fitting a 3/8" hole. I’m guessing it would be 1/4" or maybe 5/16". (You’re Canadian and thus metric?)

That’s it for me – chicken tractor construction beckons. :-)

Posted on 22 Oct 12 (over 3 years ago)

lol.. we’re both metric and imperial. Mostly imperial for construction, cooking, heights & weights. Food prices are posted in pounds and kilos, speed limits are km/h, temperatures are celsius. We’re also home to what our American cousins refer to as “those weird screws” (the robertson – most easy to work with!)

I think the hole is 5/16 but I have 1/4 bolts because they fit the attachment I have for my drill. Once I use them up & find a bigger driver for the drill, I’m going to get 5/16 sizes. I will have to check at an auto shop at some point in the city and perhaps they’ll have something in between. I was a bit concerned with using stronger bolts, but given that their technician put them in, I think it’s okay.

Posted on 23 Oct 12 (over 3 years ago)

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