At least here in Pennsylvania, it was really starting to feel like spring this week.  We cracked 60 degrees last week!  Brilliant! Of course is snowing...but no worries!  The forecast is looking up friends and the daffodils are pushing up and spring is COMING!  Can you tell I am excited?  To celebrate, today I am partnering with Ames Tools to bring you a fun giveaway.  Not 1 tool, not 2, not 3 nor 4.  No, today the giveaway is for an entire collection of tools from Ames.
This collection is specifically created for new homeowners that might not know what they have gotten themselves into when they bought that little patch of backyard.  Gardening can be tough!   Before we dive right into the giveaway though, let's talk about the differences in these basic tools and why you will need each one as a first-time gardening home owner.

AMES steel tools have a really cool logo stamped into the steel -- Solid, right?

The 16-Tine Welded Bow Rake

GOOD FOR: Prepping a vegetable garden!  Once your soil has dried out a bit, this is hands down the tool you want after digging your veggie garden.  Get the soil all flat with perfect lines ready for planting!  This tough rakes also does a great job of pulling ivy down from where it has wandered astray.

NOT GOOD FOR:  Delicate weeding tasks!  This rake is strong and mighty.  It will eat little seedlings and small bulbs right along with those weeds you are trying to get rid of.  Save this tool for tough projects!

The Steel Handled AWESOMELY HUGE Poly Leaf Rake

GREAT FOR: Cleaning up those wet and nasty fall leaves that you never got around to cleaning up before the ice storms of 2015 hit.  Get them out of the way and compost them so the grass can start growing!  This rake is also FABULOUS for moving big bundles of ornamental grasses and other drystuffs for the chicken coop (YES!  Chicken are coming back to the Nest this spring...stay tuned to see the new baby chicks!)  This rake also did a great job of grabbing thorny ramblers to throw in a bonfire :)

This rake is HUGE -- note the size next to the almost 7 year old :)
This is the only tool requiring any assembly -- 2 bolts and DONE
NOT SO GREAT FOR: Trying to move (larger than pea-sized) gravel.  Trust me -- you need a heavier duty tool for the job.  Though this rake is STRONG and moves a lot more than your average garden still isn't going to be moving rocks.

The Trowel and The Transplanter

Can YOU tell them apart?
These two hand tools look similar, but they are used for totally different tasks.  The trowel is a fatter tool, perfect for getting down and dirty planting perennials and large bulbs.  When you need a deep hole, but do not want to disturb existing plants, the transplanter is exactly what you need.  As a new homeowner,  WAIT to plant and transplant for at least one spring-summer-fall cycle so you know what it in the garden.  You don't want to start digging holes for peonies and cut all the irises to shreds because you didn't know they were there.  JUST WAIT...and at the very least, use a transplanter, not a trowel.  Trowels are also great for hand weeding the veggie garden and working plants out of pots.

The Shovel

If you do not have a shovel and you want to garden, you might just be up a creek.  The shovel is one of the first tools created by mankind and it is essential to getting the Earth to produce.  Vegetable beds need to be turned, trees need to be planted, noxious weeds need to be upended and mulch has to be moved.  The shovel is the go-to tool for all the chores you really don't want to do.  You know what is worse than doing those chores?  Doing those chores with a dull shovel.  Get a nice solid shovel (from AMES!) and keep it sharp and free of rust.  Your back will thank you.

 (Shovel on the right, spade on the left)

The Spade

You are a new homeowner and you wonder why on Earth you would need TWO shovels.  Why not just one?  Well, let's call a spade a spade, shall we.

SPADES ARE GOOD FOR: Lifting dirt.  I would say soil, but typically if you are reaching for a spade, you might have nasty old, infertile DIRT on your hands.  Shovels move nice, light, fertile soil.  If you need to dig a serious hole, edge a garden, remove sod, etc, etc.  The spade is your tool of choice.

NOW that you are tired from thinking about all those chores to get to in the garden (don't worry!  The seeds and flowers are coming soon!) let's giveaway some TOOLS!  This collection is going to make one happy reader's life a lot easier and it COULD BE YOU!  Enter below and you can KEEP entering by tweeting once per day!

Established in 1774, AMES® supplied the tools that built America. AMES continues to provide quality, innovative lawn and garden tools for gardening, landscaping, and lawn maintenance activities. AMES is a brand of The AMES Companies, Inc. The AMES Companies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Griffon Corporation (NYSE:GFF), is the leading, as well as the oldest, manufacturer of lawn and garden tools in the U.S. Headquartered in Camp Hill, Pa. (near Harrisburg). The company manufactures and markets a wide variety of long-handled tools, wheelbarrows, carts, hose reels, hoses, snow tools, cutting tools, hand tools, pruning tools, and striking tools as well as outdoor lifestyle product categories such as planters and outdoor accessories. To learn more, visit or find us on Facebook.
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