Garden Tools are an investment, but like any investment, you have to take care of them if you want to keep them in good shape. Since most garden tools do not have any moving parts, they will last close to forever, if take the time to do simple maintenance on them once in a while.
- Keep your tools inside a shed, garage or barn - Never leave your tools outside where they could get rained on or soaked by dew
- Clean the dirt off of them when you are done for the day - If the dirt is dry, just brushing it off is fine. However, if the dirt is wet, then you will need to wash it off with your hose.
- Condition the handle - Most tool handles are made from wood, and over time wood dries out and weakens, that is why tool handles crack and break. You can stop this from happening to your tools if you keep the handles conditioned with oil. I just use regular cooling oil (you can also use linseed oil, baby oil, or even WD40) and soak a rag in it and then run the oily rag over the surface of the wood handle. This will moisturize it and help to waterproof it. If you do this once a month, your tool handles should stay looking almost brand new. If you find your handles are a bit rough, you may want to sand them (with the grain) with medium grit sand paper before you oil them. After conditioning the handles, hang them up and let the oil soak in.
- Clippers, pruners and shears - I clean mine with an old toothbrush, soap and water, to get all the sap and gunk off of them, then I dry them thoroughly and (wearing a glove) I spray around the nut and all moving parts with WD40, working them open and closed to make sure the oil gets in all the cracks. Then I wipe them down with a dry, soft cloth.
- Get rid of rust as soon as you see it - First I spray the rusty places with WD40. Then I use either a wire brush or a dry Brillo pad to loosen and take the rust off. Fine grit sand paper can then be used to get rid of any remaining spots. After the rust is gone, I wash the tool in soap and water, dry it thoroughly, and rub an oily rag over the metal. I keep an oily rag in a can in my tool shed, it comes in handy!
You will have a much easier time digging, hoeing, pruning and such, if your tools are kept fairly sharp. You don't have to keep them like a samuari sword, but sharpening them at the beginning of the season will make your gardening go faster. It is easy to sharpen your own tools, all you need is a file like this one:
Well, that's all for today, I have to get back out to my garden! I swear those weeds grow like.....um, WEEDS!
Have a great week!
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tea_time/3978838747/sizes/z/