With winter weather approaching, now is the time to think about maintaining your garden tools. Garden tools aren’t cheap and with the right treatment, they can last for years.
Here are a few steps to help you maintain your tools and have them ready for Spring.
The first step is to thoroughly clean your tools. Use a coarse metal brush, like one used for cleaning grills, to scrape dirt off of the metal parts of your tools. Follow up with a dry rag and, if necessary, a damp rag. Rub any rust away with a piece of sandpaper.
Once your tool is clean wipe it down with an oiled rag, vegetable oil is preferred. Remove any splinters from the wooden handle with a piece of sandpaper, and then wipe the handle down with linseed oil.
Storage is another important part of maintaining your tools. Store your tools in a rack or hangers. Make sure your tools aren’t resting against soil or cement, as this can lead to rot.
Let’s not forget about hoses, sprinklers, and drip irrigation when preparing for winter. Disconnect all hoses and sprinkler systems; if left outside for the winter they’re likely to burst. Drain them of water, patch any holes, and loop them up neatly to avoid any kinks that may wear into holes over the winter.
Then there’s your lawnmower. It’s very important to maintain your machine. Run your mower until it’s out of fuel. Allowing fuel to sit over the winter can degrade plastic and rubber parts and rust metal ones. Remove the blades and sharpen and oil them. Scrape or rinse away all built-up grass and dirt. Disconnect the battery and spark plugs to keep it from accidentally starting over the winter.