Ahhh, the lowly garden tool – you probably don’t think too much about their care and maintenance. Gardening tools aren’t cheap and after a season of heavy use, it’s always a good idea to perform a little TLC and preventive maintenance before putting them away for the winter.
A few simple tricks will keep them in tip top condition over the cold, sometimes wet winter months, and will help to ensure that they’re ready to tackle another season of hard work in the garden in the spring.
Change the oil in your lawnmower or tiller. While you’re at it, clean the air filter and sharpen or replace the blade. Fill the tank with fresh gas and be sure to add fuel stabilizer to prevent condensation. Remove the spark plug and pour a teaspoon of oil into the cylinder, then re-install the spark plug.
Sand rough wooden handles with fine sandpaper then rub them down liberally with linseed oil to prevent them from cracking. Remove dirt and rust from pruners, shovels, and hoes by rubbing them with crumpled aluminium foil. Sharpen cleaned shears and pruners by cutting up the aluminum scouring pad. Wipe steel tools down with oil and then put the metal parts in a plastic bag with a couple of pieces of barbeque charcoal to prevent rust.
The business ends of small tools can also be stuck in a flower pot or pail filled with sand with a little machine oil or WD 40 mixed in and left there over winter.
Store hand tools in the garage or a shed and hang them so they’re not resting on damp floors.
Good hoses aren’t cheap and putting them away full of water can cause them to freeze and burst. Stepping on a frozen hose buried in the snow can also damage it. Drain hoses, connect the ends, and hang them up out of the way.
Soil and Fertilizer
Bags of soil and fertilizer should either be stored under cover in watertight containers, or on shelves away from moisture.
A good garden tool is worth its weight in well-rotted compost. With a little TLC, they’ll provide you with years of service.