Gardener's Paradise: Features To Consider When Buying a Home With a Garden

It is wonderful to have a garden to grow vegetables, flowers, and fruits, but when you are looking for a home, you need to find a property that has more specific features. Here are some of the things that gardeners suggest that you have so that you can have an attractive garden at your new home.

Gardening Essential 1: How Can You Budget for a Dream Garden?

It might seem counterintuitive, but when looking for a new home that will hold your dream garden, prioritize the land first. Even if the home you buy is not the paradise you were hoping for initially, your home can be transformed over time with the right tools, effort, and funding; but if you buy a property that doesn’t have adequate land or yard space, you can’t build your dream garden. Unfortunately, land can be expensive (depending on where you are buying a property). Financing options like loans and other housing programs might be able to help you afford the home and land that you’ve been dreaming of.

Gardening Essential 2: Is There Good Soil for Planting a Garden?

While you are shopping for a new home, you must consider the soil on the property when you want to have a garden. If you are a knowledgeable gardener, start by looking at and touching the soil. Try to determine if it is rich enough for planting seeds or seedlings. When you are a novice gardener, take a small sample of soil to a gardening store for analysis. Make sure your soil is well tilled and prepared to receive seeds before planting.

Gardening Essential 3: Does the Property Have a Fence?

By having a fence around your property, you can protect your garden from wildlife that will damage the plants. Vinyl fences are easy to install and require very little maintenance. They will keep animals and other unwanted visitors out of your garden, while providing an attractive fencing option. A sturdy fence can also keep vandals from destroying your garden.

Gardening Essential 4: Is There an Irrigation System?

If you can find a home that has an outdoor irrigation system, then you will enjoy having fast access to water for your garden. You won't need to stand outside for hours with a garden hose or carry huge buckets of water to the garden. Irrigation systems are expensive devices, and the installation process is invasive or time-consuming, so you should look for a home that has an irrigation system.

Gardening Essential 5: Does the Property Have a Garden Shed?

When you have a garden, you will need a place to store your gardening tools. Finding a home that already has a garden shed will make your life much easier because you will already have a place to store large pieces of equipment along with small tools. If the property doesn’t have a garden shed, then make sure that there is a place where you can build one.

Gardening Essential 6: Does the Current Homeowner Have a Compost Pile?

If the current homeowner has a compost pile, then you have easy access to fertilizer for your garden. Many gardeners create compost piles in their backyards or gardening areas so that they don’t need to spend a lot of money on bags of fertilizer. It can take several months for kitchen scraps and other degradable items to decompose to create a compost pile, so if you have one already, then you can continue to add garbage to the compost pile.

Gardening Essential 7: How Do You Find the Perfect Property?

It's clear that there are many factors to look for when buying a garden-friendly home. Because there are so many factors to consider, you may find it helpful to work directly with a real estate agent. While there are many benefits to working with an agent, the primary benefit is that they know the market and can really help you find the perfect property for your gardening needs.

Are There Additional Gardening Items Available? 

If the home you are looking at has additional gardening items such as trellises or planters, then you are going to have a great place to begin planting without needing to install these things on your own. If you're passionate about gardening, then finding these home features will be worth the effort.

A Gardener's Guide To Good And Bad Pests

You want your garden to thrive, and anything that attacks it is your opponent. You might think that if it's in your garden and it crawls or flies, it needs to die. Some of the inhabitants of your garden, however, are helpful. Which of them are on your side? Which ones are not? Let's look at some examples.

Tomato Hornworm

This large green caterpillar will someday become a moth, but in the meantime, it feeds on your plants. It can be up to four inches long and has a horn on its posterior. This is no magical unicorn, for it destroys your tomatoes. As the caterpillar grows in size, its appetite grows, and it eats at a faster rate. Its pupal form exists in the soil during the winter, dreaming of tomatoes as you slog through the gardening off-season. One way to prevent them is to till your soil (before winter) once the growing season is over. Since they're large and easy to find, you can also pluck them off your tomatoes and dispose of them.


These little green guys are equally damaging for feeding on your plants, and for their ability to multiply, as the females of the species can apparently clone themselves. Sounds unpleasant for you and your plants right? After feeding on the plant, they secrete a sticky fluid that goes on to become sooty mold and harms plants. Regularly monitoring for aphids will help you deal with them before they become more serious.

Green Lacewing

Some bugs and insects help a garden grow, and could be somewhat beneficial for you to let them stick around. The green lacewing is one of them. They eat aphids and many other pests like spider mites. Their larvae are sizeable little eating machines, munching on everything from aphids to small caterpillars. If it's another insect and it moves slowly, the green lacewing larvae will probably take care of it for you.

Damsel Bugs

These long-legged, large-eyed insects may sound like beauty queens, but their real beauty is their efficiency in the garden. They'll kill a wide variety of insects that are out to damage your plants. They'll even turn on each other if they run out of other bugs to eat. They can be attracted to your garden by planting things like lavender and chamomile.

 But if you feel like your garden (or your home, for that matter) has been taken over by these little creatures to an unacceptable point, don’t try to treat it yourself! These jobs are more complicated than they seem and will need professionals to address it for your safety and the safety around you (as you don’t want to use harmful products).
That being said, these are just a few examples of good and bad bugs. Managing them in small instances can reduce the amount of insecticide you need to use. Insects are often collectively thought of as pests, but they can be either the heroes or villains in our garden. Knowing which ones to encourage and which ones to control will surely help your garden flourish. Be sure to check our garden tools to help you navigate your gardens this summer!

List of Garden Pests | No Dig Vegetable Garden
6 Reasons Pest Control is NOT a Do-It-Yourself Job | Proforce
Green Lacewings | Green Lacewings
The Masters of Cloning | Aphids on World’s Plants
Tomato hornworms in home gardens | University of Minnesota

Damsel bugs can be beneficial in the garden | ACES

Good Quality Garden Tools Makes Gardening Fun!

So you have got the garden bug and so off to the garden center to pick plants. Or your favorite garden tool website! Wait just a minute; before you leave the garden center, better run through a checklist and see if you’ve got all the garden tools you’ll need to make your garden the most productive. We aren’t going to break the bank here; no power tools and even a few you can craft yourself. We’ll touch on a few items that could be considered luxuries, but only if they make the job more comfortable and more fun. We can make this list a lot more organized by breaking the jobs in the garden into four main categories.

Four Kinds of Essential Garden Tools
1. Tilling covers soil preparation and moving; turning over the soil.
2.Cultivating is any job we do to maintain the garden, like weeding or pruning
3. Planting covers how we get the plants in the ground
4. Watering And finally, that most important task, watering

Tools for Tilling
A Good Shovel and a Spade
Keep in mind that this a small patch garden. Your most important tilling implement is a good shovel or spade. This is the workhorse, a real jack of all trades that hit almost every category.   And I mean the Big Box stores. There is no point in going cheap here. I have taken the cheap route before, and you are lucky if the tool lasts one season. This is a lifetime purchase if done well; you will be back here in a year or two if you screw up, so buy the best you can afford. I am a big fan of all metal spades; I have had the one I am currently dating for a decade. I am using this tool in a professional capacity and using it for my home garden; I have dug trees and shrubs, transplanted and split many perennials and grass, cut sod and roots, and even hammered a few stakes with it and I foresee several more decades of the same.

Why a Garden Spade is Important
A spade offers more versatility; the narrower blade and shorter handle make it easier for workers in a small garden. The shovel is a better choice for digging that big hole (and for saving your back), but why choose? I have both and suggest you do as well. If you do have that big area or are just establishing a bed, roto-tilling is a suitable method but a quick word here; I do feel that buying a roto-tiller is a good investment. Or you can rent one for the weekend to knock out that new garden makes much more sense, as yearly roto-tilling breaks down the composition of your soil (more so in clay soils). Repeated tilling also brings up weed seed that eventually decays if left in the depths of the soil strata. I till in compost at the end of the season, and that's it for tilling. This may not sound like a big deal but consider crabgrass. It can lay dormant at depths of up to three feet for 100 years, waiting to infest your bed and dive into the lawn.

Mattock – A Tool for Tough Digging
Breaking up the soil can be very difficult in clay situations, and working around established trees can leave you frustrated with the roots. The right tool for both jobs is a mattock. It looks like the offspring of a pick and a hoe and handles both these tough jobs and a lot of others. I do not own a pick; the mattock covers those bases nicely as well (I am fond of tools that multi-task).

Spading Hand Fork – One is Good, But Two is Better
A spading hand fork is a beautiful tool for transplanting and aerating; two together make such an excellent device for splitting grasses and perennials that I have always had two hand forks (stab them back to back at the point you want to cut and work the handles apart). They will also do the job of a manure fork, sorting hay, mulch and the like, at least for a smaller garden.

Pry Bar Works Great for Rocky Soil
In the New England garden, rock is our constant companion, and those of you with hardpan know how difficult it is to break through. No list of tilling tools would be complete without the pry bar, or breaker bar. You know the one, 6’of iron bar just perfect for, well, prying and breaking things. This one gets a workout whenever I start a new bed, prying up the inevitable boulder or two that I run across. It also is another tool that can double as a pick, so we’re running out of reasons to own one. If we’re starting a bed, we’re adding compost and humus, mulching and perhaps even moving soil from one locale to another, so I include the barrows and carts in this group. This is a personal decision, based on what you intend to carry and your own personal limitations. The traditional wheelbarrow with the single tire up front is great for working in tight spaces, but it can be unstable with a big load, and anyone who has had to shovel a load of gravel off of a lawn will attest that it is not much of a labor-saving device if you dump it.

Garden Cart
Garden carts, with the wide set bicycle wheels, are steady as a rock but don’t dump well and the wide wheel base can be a pain. While I own a traditional model, I have my new favorite, what we in the trade call a mulching monster, sort of a hybrid of the two other designs. The wheelbarrow body (good for dumping) is set on two garden cart type tires set about a foot apart (good for stability).

Tools for Cultivating
Weeding is part of gardening face it, so you may as well have a helpful tool to work with. The image of a gardener hunched over his garden hoe, scraping weeds out of the soil, may be cliche, but for a good reason. Hoe's do an excellent job of keeping plants at bay, without having to bend down and grab them. There are several types of hoes -- square, broad, V-shaped, bar-shaped hand hoe and they all do the job. You should try out a few to see which you find preferable. In general, a rolled steel blade that has been riveted to the handle will be the sturdiest. After that, it depends on your needs. Check the selection we have in store for you. I hope you can find one to suit your needs because weeding is everyone's favorite past time? I do not mind weeding. The sun on your back just feels right.

The cultivator comes in two different flavors; long-handled and hand models. The long handled one is better on the back and the schedule, but the small one is the tool of choice around delicate plants and tight spaces, like containers and window boxes. If you are using a draw hoe, the long-handled cultivator is redundant, but if you prefer the faster hoes, it’s a good tool to loosen that baked-on surface layer in the depths of summer. I have both, and they both get a work-out. The hand model usually comes in a set with a trowel (we’ll cover in planting tools) and a long pointy spear with a fork on the end that you have wondered about, I’m sure. Well, it’s an asparagus fork, (for cutting the spears below the soil level) and before you throw it out (no, we don’t all grow asparagus) it does a famous job of digging dandelions and other tap-rooted weeds, so keep it! The other part of cultivating is cutting and pruning, and there is plenty to look at here. The spade may be Tool Numero Uno, but the pruners (or secateurs) run a very close second. There are a lot of different types out there but if you are only going to buy one pair of shears get a really good pair of by-pass cut shears. I have been a big fan of Felco #2’s since I started in the industry; they are the standard in the biz. Replaceable parts and blades mean you can bring these back to new in a few minutes (and we’re not talking about rebuilding a carburetor) so like your spade, you should have these for life.

All-Purpose Pruners
There are a lot of choices and things to consider when selecting a pair of pruning shears. Look at the construction of your chosen pruning shears. Those that use nuts and bolts to secure parts in place are preferable to those that use rivets since it means you can replace the blades if they should get damaged or worn out. Consider pruning shear safety. Always opt for a pair of shears that have a locking mechanism to keep the blades shut when not in use. Set yourself a budget. While you can find some very inexpensive pruning shears, avid gardeners may want to spend a little more to get a pair that will last many years to come. Always clean the blades of your pruning shears after use. Certain substances, such as resinous sap, will damage the edges, so giving them a quick wipe down after each use will make them last longer. Most pruning shears have blades made of steel, but some are made of titanium or have a titanium coating to prevent rust and tarnishing. Shears with blades made from hardened steel or titanium are less likely to get nicks or to dull quickly. Remember that lightweight models may not be as sturdy and durable as heavy models, so you must find a pruner that is both a comfortable weight and well-built. If you have particularly small hands, you may require a compact pair of pruning shears. The only issue with extra-small pruning shears is that they're not usually up to heavy-duty jobs. They’re better-suited for use with potted plants, herbs, flowering plants, and small shrubs or saplings. A snip here, a cut there, and slowly you regain control of those plants that are always fighting to take over your yard. That's why a good pair of pruning shears are an essential part of any gardener's arsenal. But what makes one pair of pruning shears better than another, and how do you find the right ones to fit your needs? Information provided

Tree Pruners
Pole pruners solve that “I’ll get the ladder out and prune those trees…just not today” problem. Most extend out to 18′ or so, letting you lighten up those lower tree limbs, and most of the people I talk to with “problem shade” only need to lighten up the bottom 20′ or so of their treescape to be able to garden to their heart's content really! So if you have ANY trees, this is a must-have tool. But what if we have to cut something larger than our thumb?

Garden Saws
The pruning saws have a ( tri-edge tooth) cutting blade. The cutting teeth have three uniquely shaped surfaces forming an ultra sharp cutting surface. This tooth configuration provides much larger spaces between each tooth for horizontal clearance of sawdust, fast cutting on the pull stroke and the tapered grind means efficient cutting performance. The blade is made of hardened high carbon steel containing a high-quality spheroidal carbide. This leads to a very flexible and durable saw blade which is then chrome plated to add additional hardness and rust resistance. BUILT FOR COMFORT - Large ergonomic high impact TPR rubber handle is not only super durable but comfortable with the grip. Pruning can tire the most active hands, but if you are already starting out at a disadvantage with carpal tunnel or arthritis, or have smaller hands, you should consider the smaller pruning saw.

Clean-up Tools
What type of rake do I need? When people hear rake, they think of the big plastic or bamboo thing used to make leaf piles. And yes, that’s a legitimate kind of rake, but it’s far from the only one, and not the best tool for gardening. Keep reading different types of rakes and tips for using rakes in gardens. Different Kinds of Rakes for Gardening There are two fundamental types of rakes: Lawn Rake/Leaf Rake – This is the rake that most readily comes to mind when you hear the word rake and think about falling leaves. The tines are long and fan out from the handle, with a cross piece of material (usually metal) holding them in place. The edges of the tines are bent over at about 90 degrees. These rakes are designed to pick up leaves and lawn debris without penetrating or damaging the grass or soil beneath. Bow Rake/Garden Rake – This rake is a more heavy duty. Its tines are wide-set and short, usually only about 3 inches (7.5 cm.) long. They bend down from the head at a 90-degree angle. These rakes are almost always made of metal and are sometimes called iron rakes or level head rakes. They are used for moving, spreading, and leveling soil. Additional Rakes for Gardening While there are two main types of garden rakes. Let’s find out. Shrub Rake – This is almost the same as a leaf rake, except that it’s much narrower. It’s more easily handled and fits better into small places, like under shrubs (hence the name), to rake up leaves and other litter. Hand Rake – This is a little, handheld rake that’s about the size of a spade. These rakes tend to be made out of metal for heavy duty work – and they’re a little bit like miniature bow rakes. With only a few long, pointed tines, these rakes are perfect for digging and moving soil in a small area. Thatch Rake – This means looking rake is a bit like a bow rake with blades on either end. I hope this will help you to make a decision on what type you need?

Tools for Planting
Our spade heads the list yet again, cementing its lead as the tool to have. The spading fork can work here as well. Have a shovel or fork handle lying around? (I told you to use the pry bar to lever out those rocks…) Sharpen the point just below the D handle, and you now have a dibbler, or dibber, just the tool for planting bulbs! (If you don’t have the grasp, the pry bar does double-duty.) The trowel, that little hand spade, is the perfect tool for planting window boxes and containers or moving those little volunteer seedlings or any of those other small jobs that are so much of the joy of gardening.

Garden Watering Equipment
Maintaining green lawns, lush flowerbeds, or productive vegetable gardens usually means homeowners need to give Mother Nature a little boost. Proper watering tools including watering cans, hoses, sprinklers, and related accessories can make managing water levels a lot easier. Just be sure to buy the right tool for the job: That 25-foot hose may seem like a bargain until it can’t reach those farthest garden rows, and a tiny indoor watering can. Will not have the capacity for all those outdoor planters. When buying a garden hose, do not buy the cheap ones. Garden hoses are a necessity to all gardeners. Garden watering hoses are in the watering tool category and, as with any job, it is essential to select the proper watering tool for the job. Using Hoses in the Garden There are also specific uses for specific garden hoses. Sprinkler hoses are capped at one end and water is then forced out of little holes along the gardening hose. Sprinkler hoses are often used for watering lawns or new planting beds. Soaker hoses are made from a porous material that allows water too slowly seep into the root zones of newly planted beds. The primary purpose of flat garden hoses is secure storage.

Selecting your garden tools should be a fun and personal process; we’re all going to develop a cool tool list of our own. I have stuck to hand tools; power tools are a subject of topic for another day. Buy the best you can afford and maintain them; cutting oil and white lithium grease is what passes for love with your tools. Take care of your tools and they will take care of you. I have had my garden tools for years. I sell garden tools, and I have not had to buy any for years, either. Well taken care of. I hope everyone's garden is flourishing this summer. Ours is doing well, still waiting for some warm 60* nights?

Now Let's Talk Garden Tillers

Here are are a few thoughts about garden tillers. You landed on this page for a reason. You're not just looking for any garden tiller; you want the best garden tiller! I am going to tell you about the success I have had with my garden tillers. I watched all the videos and read the reviews, I am stuck on Mantis and Troy built, just from hands-on experience 

Choose from one of the categories below, and start the path to finding the best rototiller for your needs.

Cultivator Sometimes referred to as "mini-tillers," cultivators are light-weight, portable lawn tools. These are the perfect tool for weeding gardens and cleaning between established beds. They are Great! I am on my second one. First, the two-cycle Mantis tiller up-graded to the four-cycle last year. I used the two cycle for eight years. Very dependable, started having carburetor problems, so I went to the four-cycle what a great machine.

Cultivators are either electric or gas-powered. They are propelled by the cutting tines, which rip through dirt and soil. If you've got a small garden, then a cultivator will do the trick.
The Mini-Tiller, which makes a great companion tiller to a full-sized Tiller. You can use the Mini-Tiller to cultivate between rows for weeks or months after planting. And if you have only small garden beds, the Mini-Tiller just might be the only tiller you need.

Garden Tillers
Garden Tillers have potent engines designed to break new ground. 
Garden tillers come in three different styles: front-tine, mid-tine or rear-tines. 

Front-tine tillers are typically cheaper and designed for weeding or stirring established beds. I do not prefer this type anymore. They tend to beat the hell out of you. When I was younger, I could use these man handler, type tillers. Thanks to rear tine tillers. Tilling is a whole lot easier. The hardest part for me is turning it around. My back has been fuse L-4 and L-5. to remedy this I place 1/4" plywood on the ends of my 25' X 50' garden. Real easy to turn, less resistance than sod.

The Front Tine Tiller has (as the name hints at), tilling tines in the front. The tines rotate forward and are the tiller's self-propulsion mechanism as well as the tilling tool. A drag stake in the rear is used to hold the tiller back, providing resistance that allows the tines to slip through the soil. The Front Tine Tiller is best for established gardens. It's great for breaking up clods and integrating organic matter into your ground.

The Rear Tine Tiller uses counter-rotating tines (CRT) and has powered wheels to propel the machine forward. Since the tines rotate in opposition to the powered wheels, the tilling action is more aggressive. This gives the engine the additional muscle you need for more massive uses, like sod-busting or tilling in heavy clay soil.

Our  Tow-Behind Tiller is designed for larger gardens and making food plots. While you can certainly accomplish those jobs with a walk-behind model, it can get very fatiguing to do so. With the Tow-Behind, you merely hitch up to your ATV or garden tractor and till or bust sod while you ride in comfort. Be sure to check out the available attachments that can make your job even more comfortable.

While a good tiller makes the job a lot easier, some essential preparation is sometimes necessary. If your soil has a lot of medium to more massive rocks, take the time to remove them before tilling. It will save you the frustration of "clanging" into them and possibly damaging your tiller.

Rototilling soil when it is dry makes the task more difficult and isn't suitable for the ground itself (the tines will tend to produce dusty earth, which is more vulnerable to erosion by wind or water). But tilling soil that's too wet increases compaction and creates more clods. There is no magic formula for the right moisture content, but ideally, you should let it dry out for 2-3 days after a soaking rain (or after a long hose soaking).

Finally, you can start tilling shallow and gradually go more in-depth, rather than trying to gain your full depth on the first pass. You can control for depth with the drag stake or—on the Tow-Behind Tiller—with the depth regulator right from your tow vehicle.

If you want to break new ground, you'll need a rear-tine tiller - preferably with counter-rotating or dual-rotating tines to break up hard soil or clay. I have a 1965 Troy Bilt tiller. I saw this tiller in an old garden bed alongside the road. It had been abandoned and left for dead. So we stopped and asked the owner if I could buy it. The owner said you could have it! The motor was seized up as I expected lack of oil would kill the machine fast. I have been using this machine about 8 years now. Check out the selection at Have a great day and happy gardening! 6/1/2018

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