Testing the Troy-Bilt TB490 XP™ 4×4 Pushmower

Disclaimer: The following post is a sponsored review of the Troy-Bilt TB490 XP ™ 4x4 Self-Propelled mower. All opinions are solely the opinion of the author who in exchange for goods and compensation was asked to do this review. In my last post I told you a little bit about my trip to Savannah, Georgia with the Troy-Bilt Brand Ambassadors. Today I get to tell you about one of the products they have sent me to test and talk about, the Troy-Bilt TB490 XP ™ Pushmower!  The the Troy-Bilt TB490 XP ™ is a the new 4x4 Troy-Bilt pushmower which offers all wheel drive when needed in the yard. It's a really cool feature if you have a lawn that happens to be a little difficult to mow due to the terrain. The Testing Ground First here's a little background about where I tested the mower. My backyard is around…

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A Garden Trip to Savannah Georgia

This is a paid endorsement. I have been compensated and provided with products free of charge in return for my honest opinion. All opinions are 100% my own! If you've followed Growing the Home Garden for a while know then you might remember that I've worked with Troy-Bilt as a member of the Saturday6. Through Troy-Bilt I've had the opportunity to get together and work with other garden bloggers and test out their products. Troy-Bilt also brought a group of die-hard gardeners to Miami where we worked on building an urban community garden. In Miami we built raised beds and planted tons of plants to help encourage growing local plants and healthy living. A week ago I returned from another fantastic Troy-Bilt trip as one of their 2017 Brand Ambassadors! This time Troy-Bilt looked back to previous Saturday6 groups and invited them to Savannah, Georgia where we worked on improving…

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Black Plastic Tarps in the Garden

This week I began testing a new (to me at least) gardening technique! Using black plastic tarps in the garden to kill off the weed growth underneath. The concept is simple and is something that I read about in The Market Gardener by Jean Martin Fortier (Amazon Aff. Link). I highly recommend his book, especially if running a CSA is something that interests you. (My review of The Market Gardener) What do black plastic tarps in the garden do for your garden? The black plastic attracts heat from the sun which warms the soil. The heat underneath the tarp triggers germination of weed seeds in the soil. Weed seeds germinate! (under normal circumstances we don't like this but for the tarp technique we do!) The plastic blocks light and moisture from getting to the weeds. The weeds can't survive without the light and moisture and die. After a few weeks…

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Portable Planter Box Project

Recently I put together a little project from some wood I had stored in the garage. It was an idea I had to help me with a presentation I'll be giving at a local garden show. Essentially I needed a way to demonstrate how a few plants could be planted in combination with each other. I didn't have access to a projector for the demonstration so I couldn't do a slide show. What I decided to do is to put together a portable planter box that I could stock with a few plants to bring along. It couldn't be big or it would be a problem to move around. Here's what I did to make this 24"x12.25" portable planter box! How to make a Portable Planter Box For materials: 2 6' cedar fence boards short deck screws. soil mix newspaper plants (of course!) Equipment Drill Electric Screw driver (Ryobi impact…

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Nashville Lawn and Garden Show 2017

It's the week of the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show 2017 (Plant a Forest:  Gardening for the Future)! As a harbinger of spring the Nashville Lawn and Garden show happens every year at the Nashville Fairgrounds. It starts this Thursday (March 2nd) and continues through Sunday (March 5th). At the show you can expect to find live gardens, free lectures, Demonstrations, Floral design gallery, Vendor Marketplace, Special children's activities, and Saturday Wine Festival. It's all indoors so no matter what the weather is you can get your garden fix! I've always enjoyed seeing the show gardens for ideas to add to my garden and of course visit the vendors! You can't go to the show and not buy something unique! Many of the plants that are unique and cannot be easily found in your home town. Be sure to bring a cart and a pickup to carry off your new…

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First Daffodils of 2017

Every year in the garden is different. Sometimes it's warmer than normal, sometimes colder. We may have more rain than usual or we may be in a drought. All of these factors affect how the plants grow, what comes up, and when they make their first appearance. One special event I like to notate each year on this garden blog is the flowering of the first daffodils of the year. It's exciting to see flowers begin to bloom after a drab and dreary winter season. Daffodils tend to be one of the first flowers of the year to flower in my garden. In addition to daffodils we'll see Winter Blooming Jasmine and other winter to spring blooming flowers begin to make their appearance. I've also seen foliage of iris and hyacinth beginning to emerge. Watching the progression of winter to spring is one of the most exciting parts of gardening!…

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Crossed Branches and Pruning

When pruning shrubs and trees there are certain characteristics you need to look for to determine where to cut, how to cut, when to cut, or even what to cut. It's like a good mystery movie with the who, what, when, and where! One very important thing to watch out for is crossed branches (this would be a who). Crossed branches are branches that have grown into a position where the bark rubs against the bark of another branch or trunk. Crossed branches can rub when the wind blows gradually scraping away the bark and causing damage. If left long enough the branches will gradually merge together possibly making the form of the plant look a little less desirable. The other day when out in the garden I took a short video that demonstrated what it looks like when branches cross. It happens fairly frequently and even more so with…

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Garden Update for 2017

If you're reading this now you may be wondering why it's been so long since my last post. Well, today I thought I'd use this post to give you an update on why my posting has diminished over the last year and where I see it going over the long term. For many years gardening has been my obsession, my goal, and my dream to do professionally in some manner. The way I always envisioned my garden "job" (quotes because gardening just doesn't seem like work to me!) is to be a nursery owner. I began Blue Shed Gardens with the idea that I would grow it from a small backyard/farmers market nursery with vegetable and herb plants to one day expand into my dream nursery on a large piece of land. I wanted to take that piece of land and create a nursery that wasn't just a storefront and…

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Troy-Bilt CORE Review – String and Hedge Trimmers

Over the years I've had the pleasure to test out products from Troy-Bilt. Overall I've been very impressed with the quality and the power that they have produced for lawn equipment. Five years later years I still zip around and mow my 1.5 acre yard with the RZT (0 Turn Mower) and have really enjoyed that fact that I never have to mix gas with my current Troy-Bilt weed eater. Soon I'll be going to the vegetable garden to turn it under (or around) with the vertical axis tiller very soon for the fall. All of those products have been great! A few weeks ago they asked me to test something new: The Troy-Bilt CORE line of lawn and garden products. I've always been a bit skeptical about electric/battery powered tools since the gasoline versions always seem to have more power, however that opinion was before I tested the string…

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Growing Buckeye from Seed (Aesculus pavia)

A couple years ago I bought a fantastic native plant at a local native plant nursery. It was a red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) and is great for attracting everyone's favorite tiny garden visitor, the hummingbird. The flower clusters are red (you probably expected that from the name: red buckeye) and tubular. The red buckeye grows best in partial shade as an understory tree. I planted ours near the shed in an area that receives shade most of the day. It had some blooms this year and I discovered today it had produced four ripe seeds to plant this fall. Which of course meant I now had to try growing buckeye from seed! Growing buckeye from seed: I've been watching the seeds form over the summer. Today the seed pods were splitting to reveal light brown seeds almost the size of a golf ball. The outer coating was smooth and shiny.…

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