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*I have partnered with the folks at Troy-Bilt and am hosting a giveaway of their equipment that they are providing free of charge.

Thank you all for entering my giveaway for a TroyBilt string trimmer, JumpStart electronic starter and your choice of attachment.

 

And the winner is….

 

“fastdog” who selected a cultivator as their attachment.
 
Congratulations!  
I will be sending you an email soon.
 
For those of you who didn’t win – I encourage you to visit your local Lowe’s store and check them out for yourself.  All of these TroyBilt products are wonderful and would be an asset in any garden.
 
 
For another chance to win TroyBilt equipment, check out the Saturday 6 link, for my fellow bloggers who will soon be giving away TroyBilt products on their blogs.




Wouldn’t it be great to have one basic tool that you could attach a different gardening power tools too?  I am so excited to show you this new product from the folks at Troy-Bilt who I have partnered with on this new campaign.

This may look like an ordinary string trimmer, but it is so much more…

 
 
Leave it to folks at TroyBilt to create a line of string trimmers that can be interchanged with a variety of gardening tools such as a cultivator and a pole chain saw (pictured above with the string trimmer attachment).
 
But TroyBilt didn’t stop there – they also created turbo leaf blower, lawn edger, hedge trimmer, broom and brush cutter attachments as well.

 
 
Earlier this year, I was asked to be a part of the ‘Saturday 6’, which is a group six of garden bloggers from around the country.  As part of TroyBilt’s Saturday 6, we have been asked to evaluate a number of their products and give our honest opinion about their performance.
 


I must admit that my favorite attachment has been my new cultivator.

Of course, my husband would differ and say that our new TroyBilt string trimmer is his favorite.

 
 
I have been waiting patiently (not really) to use the cultivator in my vegetable gardens since my TroyBilt equipment arrived in March.
 
But, I have had to wait until my lettuce was done for the season and then harvest my garlic before I could cultivate the soil.
 
Finally, the day arrived for my TrimmerPlus Add-On Cultivator to make its debut in my garden.
 
 
Before using the cultivator, I had to start it first.
 
 One complaint that I have with using power equipment is the pull-start.  It can be very hard for women to use a pull-start (me included).  In the past, I would call a crew member over to start equipment for me.  Since I don’t have a crew anymore, I often ask my husband to help me if I can’t start it myself.

 

Well, I don’t have to worry about pull-starts anymore, thanks to TroyBilt.

 

 

 

 

 

They have created the JumpStart, which is an electrical starter that easily starts most of their power equipment without using the pull-start.

 

 

 

 

 

All you need to do is to fit the JumpStart into a special portal…
 
 
And it starts up easily!  The JumpStart is battery powered and can be plugged in to re-charge.
 
The equipment does have a pull-start, so the JumpStart is optional.  I have had no problem using the pull-start of my favorite TroyBilt cultivator/string trimmer, but the JumpStart is easier to use.
 
Before cultivating my soil, I added compost, manure, blood and bone meal to my vegetable garden.  Now, I was ready to mix my amendments in.
 
 
The cultivator was lightweight, easy to use and tilled my soil perfectly without going too deep.
 

 
One of my vegetable gardens is rather narrow, which makes my new cultivator easy to use because it can work in narrow spaces.  Unlike larger tillers, this cultivator is perfect for smaller spaces and is easier to handle.
 
 
After I was finished tilling my vegetable gardens, there were some left over bits and pieces of plants that got caught up in the tines.  It was easy to remove them afterward by taking the tines off and cleaning them. 
 
In the past, tilling soil using a rake or shovel always took me a lot longer and I was a tired, hot, sweaty mess afterward with a sore back to boot.
With my new cultivator, I can till my soil quickly, without the negative side effects 😉
 
 
As a Certified Arborist, I am often instructing my clients how to prune and care for their trees.  While I don’t prune their trees for them, I do like to prune my own trees whenever possible.
 
 
I had a little pruning to perform for my Desert Willow, so the cultivator attachment came off and the TrimmerPlus Add-On Pole Chain Saw was attached (no tools are needed to add the different attachments).
 
 
This branch had suffered damage in a wind storm when part of it peeled off.  It left the branch weak, so it needed to be removed.  I started by pruning away the top part of the branch first.
 
The pole chain saw worked very well for me.  It comes with an additional extension pole for when you need to reach higher up (up to 11 feet), but I didn’t need it for this limb.  It is self-oiling, which keeps the bar and chain lubricated.
 
Using a pole chain saw saves you from having to climb a ladder to prune branches that are high up and it is lighter then using a regular chain saw.
 
 
My husband has been using our TroyBilt 4-Cycle Gas Straight Shaft String Trimmer for weeks now.  His initial impression was that it was more powerful then our old trimmer.  It also has a larger cutting width (18″) and as a result, edging our lawn goes more quickly.
 
 
There is no need to mix oil and gas – it runs on regular gasoline.  One of the most frustrating tasks when using a string trimmer is to having to refill the string – not a problem with TroyBilt’s string trimmer, which has the ‘Click N Trim’ Pro cutting head. You can simply thread the line through the eyelets and twist to wind up the line.  No more taking apart the cutting head.
 
The string trimmer can be started with the JumpStart, which I mentioned earlier.  But, the pull start is surprisingly easy to use due to the ‘Spring Assist Starting Technology’.
(I must admit that I like to use the pull-start, because I am thrilled with how easy it is to do with all my TroyBilt equipment, compared to the pull-starts of other equipment that I have used in the past).
 
Do you have a garage or shed full of garden equipment, with room for little else?  Wouldn’t it be great to have a string trimmer that can be used with a variety of attachments? 
 
Think of how much room you would save!
 
Okay, here is the part you have been waiting for…
 
**TROYBILT GIVEAWAY** 
for readers of my blog.
 
Would you like to have a TroyBilt string trimmer with your choice of attachment for your garden?
 
The wonderful folks at TroyBilt are giving away a their top-of-the-line TB6044 XP Straight Shaft String Trimmer.
 
 
Plus, your choice of one of the following attachments:
 
 
Now, if that isn’t enough, TroyBilt will also giveaway their JumpStart cordless engine starter to the winner along with the string trimmer, and choice of attachment.
 
1. To enter, simply leave me a comment with your choice of attachment.  (Be sure to leave your email address if it’s not on your profile, or I won’t have any way to contact you.)
 
2. For a bonus entry, become a new follower of my blog,  ‘Like’ me on Facebook or ‘follow’ me on Twitter – (be sure to let me know in your comment).
 
Let your friends know about this great giveaway and I will select a random winner in one week!
**I am paid for my involvement with the Saturday 6 and the equipment, described above, was provided to me at no cost by TroyBilt, who wanted my honest opinion – good or bad.  I can honestly state that I am very impressed by the quality and design of their power equipment.

A week ago, I received a very special delivery of what I like to call ‘toys’ for my garden.


It was almost like Christmas and the person who delivered them was even wearing red, just like ‘Santa’.

I mentioned last month, that I was asked to be a partner with the folks of TroyBilt’s Saturday 6 to test and review their outdoor power. 
 
TroyBilt brought us all together and introduced us to their exceptional line of gardening tools.
 
Well, I knew which ones I wanted to play with in my garden.  
 
 
Would you believe that I even volunteered to mow the back lawn?
 
**Soon, I will show you how I used my new garden tools and here is the best part…
 
I will be having a giveaway where you can win a very cool tool yourself.
 
Stay tuned…
*Disclosure: I am paid for my partnership with Troy-Bilt and provided outdoor power equipment free of charge for my honest review.
Have you ever embarked upon an unexpected adventure? 
 
I recently did.
 
It all started with an email from the folks at Troy-Bilt who asked me to partner with them and review their outdoor power products in return for my honest opinion. 


I had heard of Troy-Bilt company before and knew that they made high-quality gardening equipment.  But, I was curious about why they were contacting me.
 
It turns out that I was asked to be one of their six garden bloggers known as the ‘Saturday6’.




The ‘Saturday6’  is a group of six garden bloggers brought together by Troy-Bilt to share their gardening knowledge via their gardening newsletter, how-to videos and by reviewing Troy-Bilt equipment.


Troy-Bilt brought all of us together for an event-filled weekend in Scottsdale, AZ.


Five members of the ‘Saturday6’ flew in from destinations like Minnesota, Florida, Massachusetts, Tennessee and North Carolina.  I, however, just hopped into my truck and drove the 30 minutes to the hotel.
Our adventure started with a tour of the Desert Botanic Gardens in Phoenix.
 
Although, I have visited the gardens numerous  times, it was quite nice to have a guided tour and see the gardens through the eyes of those who are unfamiliar with desert plants.
 
 
It was so nice to experience the gardens with fellow plant lovers (dare I say ‘plant fanatics?). We bonded over our shared love of plants and stopped constantly to take photos.  

 

The evening hours were spent enjoying a delicious dinner where we soon found ourselves immersed in our own ‘special’ language that all gardeners share.  

I loved hearing about Dave’s Tennessee vegetable garden and how we enjoyed growing many of the same things.   Dave Townsend from Growing the Home Garden shared about his Tennessee vegetable garden and I found that we enjoyed growing many of the same things.  


Steve Asbell of The Rainforest Garden had written for many of the same publications that I had.  What I didn’t know was that he is an incredibly talented illustrator and is currently writing a book.

Foreign concepts such as ‘winter sowing’ were explained to me by Amy of Get Busy Gardening who gardens in Minnesota.  Because she lives in very different climate from mine, it was fun to hear about some of the different ways we do things in the garden.  


I was very blessed to spend time with Helen Yoest from Gardening With Confidence who is a ‘wiz’ at social media and has a new book.  She was very helpful in helping me to improve my mediocre social media skills.


 Matt Mattus of Growing With Plants told me about the  30-year old Troy-Bilt rototiller that he uses on his 100-year old family farm in central Massachusetts.  He has a huge greenhouse where he grows tropical plants including South African bulbs.
 
Our first morning together was spent at a golf course, where we tested the many Troy-Bilt products and learned more about the company. 

 

The equipment laid out for us to try out, including both push and riding lawn mowers.

 Troy-Bilt had their regional trainers on hand to show us how everything worked.
 
Helen learns the finer points of driving this small-sized riding lawn mower, which fits through a standard garden gate, making it a great option for the smaller landscape.
The riding lawnmowers were the most popular piece of equipment we tested. 
Steve tries out the push mowers.
The push mowers were fun to try as well.


Next, it was time to try out the leaf blower, which is a very popular tool here in the desert southwest.
 
You might wonder why I’m wearing a rain coat on a sunny day?  You’ll see why later…
 
I am tough on gardening equipment and if it is confusing to use or does not work well – I don’t endorse it.  The hand-held leaf blower was easy to hold and a breeze to pull-start.
 
Dave learns about the features of Troy-Bilt string trimmers and how you can switch attachments like a cultivator, pole chainsaw, blower, etc.
 
I like digging dirt…especially with this small-sized rototiller.  I could use this to make another vegetable garden.
 
Matt liked the larger rototiller.
Amy feeds branches into the chipper.

In addition to testing the equipment, we also had some fun…

Lawnmower races, anyone?

Our testing was finished and we paused to take a  group photo.

As we went indoors to learn more about the equipment and the company, the skies began to darken…



Then the skies opened up and it began to hail, a lot…


It looks like snow, doesn’t it?


Watching ‘crazy’ golfers trying to finish their game through the hail and thunder.

I don’t think my fellow bloggers expected a cold, wintery day in the desert.


After our training, we spent another evening together, enjoying dinner with the Troy-Bilt team.  It was fun to swap stories about our gardens with their challenges and successes.

Spring training is ‘big’ in Arizona.  So, I was excited that the next day’s events included a spring training game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs.


 

We enjoyed bratwurst, hamburgers, peanuts and Cracker Jacks in the Budweiser tent.
 
You would think that we would be focused on the baseball game, but you’d be wrong.
 
The camaraderie we built was evident as we spent the entire time just talking.  Occasionally, we were distracted by a home run, but didn’t keep track of who was winning.
 
At the end of our event-filled weekend, I was even more excited to be a part of the ‘Saturday6’ and share what I know about gardening as well as having the opportunity to test Troy-Bilt products.
 
 
I must admit that I’m in love with this small Neighborhood Rider.  
 
I wonder if I can convince my husband to give up our push lawn mower?