GARDENING TIPS

Gardening Tips 

February

Be Good to Your Garden Tools and They'll Be Good to You!
Garden tools are probably the most neglected of tools. We use them, abuse them and put them away dirty and wet only to see them rust and lose their effectiveness over time. But with proper maintenance, your tools can last and be effective for years to come.
Proper Tool Storage
  • Even when rain is not in your forecast, tools left outside are exposed to moisture from wet grass and dew. When storing your tools, keep them off the ground so they're not exposed to moisture on your garage or shed floor. Hanging racks are a convenient way to hang several long-handled tools in one small area. They also help prevent damage to sharpened edges. For smaller tools, try using a pegboard system to keep them off the ground and well organized.
Clean and Dry Tools
  • Cleaning and drying your garden tools will keep them in good working order. For shovels, rakes and trowels that come in contact with soil, wash the dirt off with the strong spray from your hose. If the dirt is caked on, keep a brush nearby for a good scrubbing. Most importantly, dry your tools thoroughly before putting them away. You'll also want to be sure to wipe down smaller tools, like pruners and shears, before putting them away. This will help you remove any moisture, as well as sap, from the blades. Use an effective solvent for removing stubborn sap.

Prevent Rust
  • While proper storing, cleaning and drying are important to the condition of your tools, it's still important to prevent rust.The most effective way to prevent rust is to provide some type of protective coating to the surface.
General Tool Maintenance
Some general maintenance is also handy for keeping your garden tools in good shape. There are several tips we recommend:
  • First, for wood-handled tools, sand the handle if it becomes rough. This will help prevent splinters. And for all wood-handled tools, apply a light coating of boiled linseed oil to help prevent the wood from drying out and cracking.
  • Second, you will want to apply some type of lubricant to your pruners, loppers and similar tools. This will ensure smooth operation of moving parts and will also help prevent rust from forming.
  • Third, remove rust that has already formed. There are several types of rust removal products available.
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