Winterize Garden Tools

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tools are a partner in your farm and deserve to be taken care of rather than neglected. Kept in good working order they will serve you well for years. Abandoned and abused and they will fall short in their usefulness and cost you money in replacements. How well you care for your garden tools will dictate how they will take care of you and your farming experience.

They key to a tool’s longevity is regular maintenance and winterizing. Spend a few minutes during the growing season cleaning your tools so they will be in good working order and easy to use the next time you need it. Then, spend a short amount of time at the end of the season putting your tools to bed for the winter.

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. Periodically and at the end of the growing season 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 wipe it down with a cloth dampened with oil and its ready for winter storage.

Before storing tools for the winter, check the handles for cracks and make sure spades, rakes and hoes are fastened securely to the handle. 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. Severely cracked or damaged handles should be replaced and loose heads can be bolted in place. This is also a good time to sharpen any dull shovels or axes or bladed tools.

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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