Caring for Garden Tools

Friday, October 14, 2011

garden tools © by Pleuntje

The tools you purchase for the garden and how well you maintain them will, in part, determine how enjoyable the gardening experience will be for you. With care, a spade or pitchfork or lopper can last a lifetime. The key, however, is regular maintenance. It only takes a few minutes at the end of a gardening day to clean a tool so it will be in good working order and easy to use the next time you need it.

To quickly and easily clean tools with teeth, blades or tines place a 5-gallon bucket near your tool shed, greenhouse or where ever you store your tools and it fill with clean sand. Now, mix in enough motor-oil so the sand is damp, about 2/3 of a quart. Each time you come in from the garden scrap off any excess dirt and plunge the tool into the oiled sand several times. The friction of the up and down motion will gently scrub and oil the tool, protecting it from rust and corrosion. Brush off the sand and the tool is ready for storage.

With each cleaning take the time to check the handle for cracks. Minor cracks can be wrapped with hockey-stick tape, found at most sporting goods stores. Start a few inches below where the crack begins and wind the tape tightly around the handle, overlapping with each turn, and ending several inches above the crack. Replace severely cracked or damaged handles before they break and a metal blade or head flies off injuring someone.

When tools are ready to store, don’t just throw them in a shed or garage, hang them up, off the floor so they don’t get damp during colder winter months.

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