Funny thing happened on the way home from my 6th, of 7, deliveries to my Big Rain Barrel Account.

Wonder what this could be...

Yep! The Grillo is here!

I was concerned that it was still in the box -Joel at Earth Tools had said it would be “ready to go”… No worries though:

From box… to this in about 20 minutes -including mounting the rotary plow-look at the teeth on that thing! The wheel in the back is for transport, and can also be set a depth gauge. Perspective in this shot is difficult -trust me, this thing is BIG!

Earth Tools does a hell of a job, the tranny was full of grease and oil, and there was even a gallon of diesel in the tank. You could literally have this dropped off at the job site and been “in the dirt” within 20 minutes. Nice! Course I had to try it out. I quick dug up a chunk of the backyard, you know, to test it out 😉 Once I figured out how to shift it and engage the PTO (new square cut gears=rough shifting) enough not to embarrass myself I loaded it up to take out to the Market Garden to play.

The shot at right gives a better sense of the size of this tractor.  The trailer has a 5×8 bed with 2′ sides…   The owner was stoked to see what it could do, so we did a test run in the garden plot with the rotary plow.  Unfortunately, it is still a bit wet, so no pics of that yet.

But, he needed to till under a section of their garden for their onions so we swapped on the tiller implement: changing implements is straight forward -you need a 19mm box end wrench and the ability to dead lift a hundred pounds. It really only takes 2-4 minutes like they claim.

I bought the tiller implement to turn under crops and prep beds for seeding with an Earthway Seeder. Here you can see the fine work it does on precut beds. In the pic, I am going back over my first tilling so you can see the difference. The inital till was perfect for transplanting, the second till leaves an incredibly smooth tilth that an Earthway would be a breeze to push through. I was very pleased and the farm owner was impressed at its precision in working in the planted beds in the background. On these long rows I was glad I got the locking differential: get it pointed straight, lock the diff and you can follow along with one hand -the locked diff keeps it arrow straight. 1st gear is a very slow walk, 2nd gear is a steady/fast walk. 3rd gear (8mph) ripped the tractor out of my hands and engaged the auto kill…

A better shot of the tilth after a second light tilling at it shallowest depth.

Very excited to put this to some real work in this week if the rain holds off. After my initail trials, I think the rotary plow will make a wicked good potato planter- it digs a 10″ wide furrow 8″ deep and throws the soil 18″ to the right. I think I will be able to cut a row, plant it, turn the tractor onto the next row and throw that soil onto the first. MASSIVE time saver. I am stoked!!

About 1 hour in the soil and by eye balling it, I used about a cup of diesel fuel.

I like my new toy.

Will have more posts soon as cut the garden in earnest (it is over 50% quack grass- damn it!) and start planting the 40# of potatoes (Green Mountain and Butte) and 400 onion sets that showed up from Fed-Co today. Saturday I pick up 100#’s of Carola and 50#’s of Yukon Gold. I hope the furrow trick works!


16 Responses

  1. Cool wheels too!

  2. *vicarious toy glee*

  3. hooray! That path of tilled soil looks amazing!

    I doubt I could justify the cost vs. size of garden on that though… 😦

    I did however justify the cost of a new rake and set of pruners from earthtools.

    Great Idea on the potatoes, I’m not relishing the idea of putting even the 10#’s I have in the ground, so yeah, a bit envious.

    Can we get some wide angle shots of the whole plot?

  4. […] The Grillo is here! I was concerned that it was still in the box -Joel at Earth Tools had said i SWCD has a 15?? John Deere 1560 no-till drill, a 7?? Great Plains drill, and a 10&quot […]

  5. […] The Grillo is here! I was concerned that it was still in the box -Joel at Earth Tools had said i area news in brief Exeter News-Letter […]

  6. I am a very satisfied customer of Joel’s for many years now. Nice to see someone buying a Grillo, I have 2 BCS 850’s. What model is that Grillo?
    Tom in Raleigh, NC

  7. Thanks for commenting Tom! Its an 85D that I had Joel put an 8hp pull start Lombardi diesel on. The pull start is no problem, and the diesel si so effecient that I am just now on my 3rd gallon of fuel, despite breaking about an acre of ground withe the Berta Plow and tilling it under several times with the tiller. Very pleased thus far!


  8. Hi Rob,

    I stumbled across your site while looking for reviews of Grillo tillers. I hope you don’t mind me asking you a couple of questions: (1) what made you chose Grillo over BCS? Price alone? (2) what made you decide on the 85D?

    Like you, I’m trying to do as much as I can with the land available to me (just under 2 acres – not all in garden) and am seriously considering a walk-behind tractor. I’ve rented a BCS twice now, but it was the smalled model (710). I was impressed, but can see I’d need a large unit.

    The 85D certainly looks stout!

    Thanks for any opinions you might share! Now, I’ll check out the rest of your site – looks awesome.

    Tim Smith

  9. Tim and Rob,
    I use my tractor on about 2.5 acres and would recommend going for the biggest you can afford, which in my opinion would be the BCS 853 or the Grillo 131. Tilling, especially new ground or harder/rockier soils is easier with a heavier machine. It is heavier to turn around, but that makes up for not having to fight a lighter machine while tilling. I have owned the rotary plow and really enjoyed using it, but I traded it for a second used BCS 850. I’m thinking of buying the double/swivel version of the plow in the near future. My growing system uses 30″ beds and I have a 34″ flail mower to handle cover crops and then till the residues in directly, rather than plowing them in with the rotary plow. The plow really breaks new ground well, allowing you to till your beds in one pass.

  10. Thanks Tim. I shot you an email but here is the gist of it. I got a Grillo 85d (the differential was essential) delivered with a tiller attachment for the same price as a 732 lists at -without implements or delivery. Sense the only real difference is the tranny I call the Grillo a value extraordinare.

  11. […] that I only work 4 days a week which lets me farm part-time, and the good income allows me to buy $5000 hand tractors and build gasifiers and biodiesel processors on a whim.  The amble vacation gives me flexibility […]

  12. […] the table on a regular basis.  I made a killing on potatoes this year -essentially paying off the Grillo in one season.  I need to give more back next year.  For the near term, ecological businesses will […]

  13. […] growers turning a tidy little profit and paying for capital investments in my Grillo and other tools.  But man is ever one to push his limits – and all the time away from the […]

  14. […] and a focus on efficiency by firms such as Goldoni, Grillo, Ferrari, and Antonio Carraro.   My Grillo is on the small end of this niche with its 8hp diesel, but the engineering philosphy is the same […]




  16. What do you think now that it has been a while ?

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