Gardening / Tool Box: A versatile companion to cultivate

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The Independent Online
Jack of all trades and master of none? This was the key question four months ago, in my first report on what Mantis Manufacturing of Pennsylvania, USA, calls its 'Precision Gardening System'. The Mantis has been returned to the importer - because the agreed loan period had expired - so this is the end-of-term report.

The rather grandiose title describes a light, easy-to-use tiller and cultivator powered by a compact, two-stroke engine. The basic implement costs pounds 342.50 including postage, but that more than doubles if you specify all the bolt-on items that make the Mantis so versatile.

We have already praised the tiller and most aspects of the lawn-care package, but were less enthusiastic about the hedge trimmer. The reaction to the planter and furrower attachment (pounds 62.25 with postage) was lukewarm, but only because the tiller is so good that it is perfectly possible to do the planter and furrower's job by hand.

'Worthy of serious consideration,' is the final verdict. And you have the right to send the Mantis back within a month.

G W Thornton & Sons, Grether House, Crown Royal Industrial Park, Shawcross Street, Stockport, Cheshire SK1 3HB (061-474 1525).

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