Winter is officially setting in, and my garden tools are headed back to the safety of their covered shed! Before I put them away for the season (and before I bring them out again in the Spring) I like to give my garden tools a little TLC. It helps prevent rust, and the spread of disease! Here are a few of my favorite ways to keep your gardening tools in tip top shape.
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As I mentioned before, proper tool storage is incredibly important for all garden tools. Don’t even think about leaving your tools out (even if it’s just for a night or two!) Instead, take them directly to your garden shed or garage to keep them away from harmful elements.
From time to time, every gardener will have to use their gardening tools to tend to a diseased plant. While a majority of plant illnesses aren’t contagious, it’s still important to clean your tools after use. Clean your tools in a mixture of half rubbing alcohol, half water. Ta-da! Squeaky clean.
Don’t forget about the wooden handles! Over time, water can seep into the wooden handles of your garden tools. Keep them from expanding (and rotting) by regularly conditioning the wood. If unpainted, condition yours with flax seed oil or linseed oil. If already stained, touch up the handles with a water-based sealant.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to keep the rust off of metal tools. If your tools are slightly rusty, use a metal brush to remove it. Once removed, cover the metal parts with linseed oil, as this will protect the metal from any potential rust damage.
After every use, it’s important to clean (and dry) off gardening tools. Soil is moist, and moisture can cause rust and TONS of tool damage. Prevent damage by ALWAYS putting your tools away clean and dry. Be sure to scrape off any access soil with a putty knife!
Sharp tools are the best tools! Use a metal file to sharpen your hoes, shovels, and axes. Using long strokes, brush the file against the metal edge to sharpen. Never sharpen towards yourself! This tutorial from The Family Handyman will help you safely sharpen all your important tools!