Instead of adding a lot of noise and pollution to your backyard garden with a gas-powered tiller, build a DIY solar-powered version that's clean and quiet.
One of the surest signs of spring is the Saturday morning roar of two-stroke gas engines coming from lawns, gardens, and backyards, as people start to till their gardens, cut their grass, and trim the weeds. The lightweight small gas engines that power rototillers, lawnmowers, and weedeaters are handy, as they can drastically cut the time needed for yard maintenance, but they also come at a price, both financially and environmentally.
Many of these small internal combustion engines used for yardwork can release as much as 30% of the fuel/oil mixture as unburned pollutants into the atmosphere due to incomplete combustion, which not only wastes fuel and money, but also contributes to air pollution.
"USEPA estimates that a gasoline powered lawn mower emits 11 times the air pollution of a new car for each hour of operation." - EPA
Solar energy is a great clean power solution for some of these small garden tasks, but there really aren't a whole lot of options for solar-powered home yard machines available just yet. However, just as the solar lawnmower project demonstrates, building a DIY solar tiller could be an option for the green and clean homeowner, as one resourceful tinkerer illustrates below.
Dennis "Bones" Evers, a Colorado prepper, converted a conventional garden tiller into a completely solar-powered version, using only scrounged parts and taking about 6 hours to complete:
I asked Evers about some of the details of his solar tiller, because the video doesn't give the specs on the components he used, to which he replied, "This is one of the easier, yet more rewarding projects I have done," along with some more info on the build:
"It [the solar panel] is a 5 Watt panel, and I use a simple blocking diode (one way) instead of a solar controller. The batteries are two [12V] 5 Ah computer backup batteries that provide enough power to till several beds. I could easily add two more batteries, but as it is it is very easy to use and transport. I salvaged 120 batteries that were perfect and was looking for projects to use them up. One is a four battery micro welder that works fantastic for field repairs.
The motor is a Briggs and Stratton lawn mower starter. I just got in from my garden and it works fantastic. I just leave it out in the garden facing south and use it when I need it. If a person wanted a bigger one, you could easily upgrade with a larger starter from a Ford or Chevy and a full size battery."
Evers documents his DIY projects at Proficient Prepping, so if you're looking for some pointers or ideas about building your own home and garden gear, including solar hot water and solar electric systems, or emergency preparedness, head over there and dive in.