The Earthquake MC43 Mini Cultivator
The Earthquake MC43 is a small, lightweight little cultivator/tiller that can weed your garden between rows and plants, as well as till a small garden that has fairly soft soil.
Weighing in at 35 pounds, the MC43 has a 2-cycle, high performance 43cc Viper engine…with variable speed, throttle, and clutch control settings.
The tilling width is adjustable from 6 to 10 inches and the tilling depth can reach up to 8 inches deep. In addition, the large 7-inch wheels can be modified for transport.
Lastly, the speed of the standard rotating tines (SRT) is an acceptable 250 rpm.
The easy-to-assemble Earthquake MC43 has 2-handed bicycle style handles with mushroom grips.
Optional accessories include an edger to maintain nice clean borders for your garden and lawn, as well as a dethatcher to thin out your lawn’s thick undergrowth.
Some Upsides, Some Downsides
- Light and compact – Anyone can pick this petite little cultivator up and carry it anywhere!
- Easy to assemble – There are just 4 bolts to attach the handles and you’re ready to get tillin’! It takes all of 5 minutes to put it together.
- Very maneuverable – It’s a breeze to work in and around your garden plants without damaging them.
- Powerful engine – This diminutive machine really wants to get up and go when it starts chewing up the dirt! An unexpected plus is that, for moderately hard dirt, it will cut through very well. But, to get down to an 8-inch depth, you will have to make several passes in a crisscross pattern. See my article on tilling your garden.
- Effortless to start – If you follow the standard protocol for starting 2-cycle engines: 1) press the bulb 6 to 12 times to fill the carburetor, 2) start it with the lever in “choke” position, 3) after it turns over, restart it with the lever in “half-choke” position, 4) let it run and warm up as you slowly move the lever to “run” position…it’s that simple and a cold engine can usually be started in less than 8 pulls on the cord.
TIP: Always use fresh gasoline with a fuel stabilizer. And, after each use, pour the unused gas/oil mixture back into the gas can. Then, run the cultivator until the remaining gas in the carburetor is used up and the engine shuts off. Leaving gas in the machine will clog it up and make it harder and even impossible to start in the future. So, do your “due diligence” and protect your investment.
- Adjustable tilling width and depth – The width can be changed from 6 to 10 inches and the depth can be changed from very shallow, for weeding around your veggies, to 8 inches, for tilling the soil.
- Large 7-inch wheels – The large wheels contribute to both maneuverability and ease of transporting it back and forth between your garden and your tool shed.
- Low cost – The price for the MC43 is lower than many of its electric counterparts.
- Requires a firm grip – Even though the MC43 is very easy to guide down the garden path, it truly wants to get up and go so you really need to hang on tightly when operating it.
- Vibration while tilling – This is common with a small cultivator/tiller but, it could be minimized with a more comfortable set of grips on the handlebars.
- It has a 2-cycle engine – This means mixing oil (50:1) with the gasoline just like you would do with your weed eater. It is understandable since this machine is designed to be lightweight and easy to control. But, 2-cycle engines can be a bit hard to start. 4-cycle engines are easier to start and, the gas and oil are in separate compartments.
- Handles are not adjustable – The handles are designed for an operator standing about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. But, most folks are shorter and some are taller. Thus, it would be great if the handles could be modified to accommodate the height of the user.
- Viper engine – I would have preferred the power source to be a Honda or a Briggs & Stratton…but, most reports are that the Viper engine is still one sturdy, powerful little motor!
Great For Small to Medium Gardens
For such an incredibly low price, the Earthquake MC43 Mini Cultivator is a great option for small gardens less than 1,000 square feet.
There are a host of other worthy tillers and cultivators worth checking out on my main Gas Tiller Review page. You are invited to post a comment below or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, with questions or input about the Earthquake MC43.
Jim, the Life Long Gardener