If you’re anything like most Garden Club members, the rapid approach of spring is making you fidgety. While most parts of the country still have some weeks to go before it’s time to break ground on this year’s garden, there are still steps you can take now to be ready for the moment the ground thaws. These steps for putting your garden tools into good shape ought to be at the top of your list.
Rid Yourself of rust
Even if you gave them a thorough cleaning at the end of autumn, it’s possible that musty storage conditions have given rust a foothold on your tools. To remove spots of rust on metal tool heads, scrub them with a wire brush or sandpaper. When you’re ready to put them away for extended periods, use a rag to apply a protective coating of oil or a silicon lubricant.
Keep your edge
Now’s a good time to make sure that all of your edged tools are sharp. That includes bladed tools like shears and pruners, as well as digging tool, like shovels, edgers and hoes. Through use, those tools can lose their edge, making your work harder than it needs to be. To revive them, thrown on a pair of heavy gloves, secure the tool in a vise, and work both sides of the cutting edge with a metal file.
Get a grip
Taking care of the handles of your tools will make life easier on your hands. Wooden handles may be prone to chips and splinters. Sand down any problem spots, then protect them from future wear by re-coating tool handles with a layer of spar varnish.
Finally, while you’re whipping your existing tools into shape, take stock to determine which tools are good for another year, and which have earned their retirement. Don’t make do with a broken tool, which can be not only a drain on your energy and patience, but also a safety hazard. At the same time, think back on which jobs taxed you most last year; there may be a tool that can make them less of a chore this time around.
Once you’ve worked out a list of the tools you’ll need, show it to the helpful associates at your local Home Depot Garden Center. They’ll help you get set for the year ahead.