Show Your Tools Some TLC
Whether you are an avid gardener or a first time green thumb, you should consider caring for your garden tools and equipment as over time this can save you a small fortune.
Admittedly, caring for such tools may sound a boring chore, and ideally they should be looked after throughout the year, but a good time to show your tools some TLC would be towards the end of the season. Being proactive with this could save you from replacing your equipment next time you get round to using them.
We have compiled some handy tips for you, outlining ways to care for some of the most common items.
Wooden handles are on the majority of garden tools, such as spades and rakes, you may not think you need to care for them, but they can become dry and splinter if left in a bad state.
- A stiff brush can be used to remove any dirt/soil lodged in the handle.
- rub a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil (readily available from most garden centres) on the handles, this will protect them from drying out and splintering whilst being stored throughout the winter.
Mowers can be expensive. Your future self will be happy if you give your mower a good clean after its last cut of the season. This way it will be ready to go when next spring comes around!
- Safety first, always unplug electric mowers before cleaning, or for petrol mowers you will need to disconnect the spark plug.
- You will want to clean out any grass from the underside of the mower, and also its air vents, the best tool for this would be a stiff brush.
- Sharpening your blades is important, and can be easily done with a metal file. We recommend using safety gloves for this. If the blades have become overly worn then you may consider replacing them.
- The height adjustment may seize up and may become stiff over the winter season where it is getting no use, so apply grease to this mechanism before putting away in storage.
Just like lawn mowers, having sharp blades on your garden shears is vital for their effectiveness. Again, sharpening them at the end of the season will save you a job next time around.
- Clean the blade with a stiff brush, removing any dirt and soil.
- Use a wire brush to tackle any rust present on the blades.
- Any blunt blades can be sharpened with a metal file, or a sharpening stone will also be effective for smaller blades. After sharpening, finish with a quick coat of oil.
- For badly worn blades you may also consider replacing them.
Your newly sharpened blades can then be stored, hung in your shed or garage, ready for use in the years to come. Another technique for effective storing would be to keep them in sand and oil, as explained below;
Storing in Sand and Oil
A great but unusual technique of keeping your blades and metal tools well stored, is to keep the blades in a tub of oily-sand throughout the winter season, this will greatly prevent them from rusting.
- Obtain a big enough container, or multiple containers, with enough space to store all required tools.
- Fill these containers with sand, mixed with lubricating oil such as WD-40, or even vegetable oil. Do this until the sand becomes damp throughout.
- Submerge the blades into the sand by placing them into the sand, with the handles sticking out the top, allowing you to safely remove them next season.
- As we approach next spring, you can safely remove the tools and polish them with a rough cloth. The condition of the tools should now be as good as new!
- Optionally, you can also get more uses out of your new storage pot, by using it between uses, rather than just between seasons.
With following these simple tips of showing some TLC to your tools at least once a year, not only will your equipment last long, saving you money, but also make the gardening process easier and more efficient for yourself! Win, win.