Now that you have decided to buy your garden tractor, what implements do you want for it?
The first addition, which you may not think you need, is a front loader. The front loader is the full width bucket that attaches to the front of your tractor, and uses hydraulics to dig or lift. They are one of the most expensive attachments for a tractor, but they will also save your back more times than you can count. If you want to turn over a small area of ground, it will dig it up and dump it back in place. You can load it up with potted plants and trees and move them to another location, such as a planting hole or new garden. You can use the bucket to backfill dirt into an area and tamp it down. Using the ‘floating’ position, it will help level a wide area of ground, such as a linear backfilled area.
Having a front loader will enable you to have a compost area at a distance, and then scoop up your compost and haul it to the garden plot. You can move landscape rocks: push the big ones, scoop up the smaller ones. Let it move your mulch, materials and landscape timbers. When you prune, or clear an area, your tractor will haul away the trimmings to your compost or brush pile area. If you have to move a large, shallow rooted plant (azaleas, etc.), you can maneuver the bucket to dig down, then forward, then tip it up into the bucket and move it to the new location, all without a backache.
For those with heavy clay soils, breaking ground for a new garden is serious work. Before trying to till or plow, let the front loader help. Wait until you’ve had a day or more of rain, and the ground is not muddy but hasn’t dried to it’s usual rock hardness, and dig and scoop with your front loader bucket. The same system works well for removing sapling trees and clearing paths through the woods. And if you run across a ground nest of yellow jackets, you’re at a safer distance from them! Of course, digging a farm pond and loading stable compost are just a few of the natural chores for a tractor.
Other implements will attach to your three point hitch, and are less expensive. A quite practical attachment is the auger, or post hole digger. Of course, it digs post holes for fencing and mail boxes. Dig four or five of those holes in a tight grouping, and you have the soil loosened up for a tree-planting hole. Auger blades are available in different diameters, and often are interchangeable on common post hole digger attachments.
If you have land to clear or brush to cut, a bush hog will cut grass and brush. It will help keep a large lot mowed, or that forest path neat. For simply mowing a large area, a finish mower is a great investment. You can cut a swath as wide as your tractor (routinely 5 feet), bringing that chore down to size from the comfort of your tractor.
Some other implements available include a bottom plow, which has a single ‘foot’ and cuts to a depth averaging 7 to 10 inches. This comes in handy if you need to lay a stretch of pipe. A disc harrow is used to cut up the surface of the ground; repeated application to the same ground gives it a shallow hoeing. If used in a garden with nice, soft, cultivated soil (like you see on TV), it will neatly level your garden in the fall for it to lay fallow. A cultivator is a series of hook-shaped prongs with arrow like tips, that cut into the ground, cutting and aerating the soil as it turns it over. Box blades are used to grade and smooth out driveways and dirt. And, lastly, tractor-driven tillers. How nice to ride, rather than walk behind one!