Cultivators V Rakes

The four cultivator tools produced mixed reactions. Most testers liked using the three-pronged cultivators, finding them both excellent for breaking up clods, while being light to handle and good in confined spaces where a rake would not go. The stainless steel head of the Draper was very popular and others liked the overall balance of the Spear and Jackson. However, none of these cultivators could do all the work of a good rake - levelling and removing lumps were impossible tasks - so although there might be a useful place for them in general cultivation, for seed bed preparation you will need a rake as well.

Several people found the Wolf soil miller a very effective tool, combining the actions of hoeing and raking in one operation, but others found it very tiring to use and less effective than a normal rake. The Gardena star tiller was not popular. People found it difficult to control with a tendency to skitter about on the surface and throw soil about. To be fair, this might have been partly due to the unusual curved handle - the Ergoline - I had partnered it with. I suspect it would be easier to handle with a standard handle.

In summary, at least for seed bed preparation, most people would seem to prefer to plump for a straight forward rake rather than any of the cultivators/tillers we looked at.

Next month: Mulches and weed control fabrics

Next month: Mulches and weed control fabrics

The overall balance of the Spear and Jackson made it popular with our team
The Senator stainless steel rake - voted best all-rounder by our gardeners

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