Many of you have put down the last scoop of mulch, pulled up the last annual, and clipped back the last plant before the full assault of winter arrives in your area. While you can’t do much gardening in the winter, you can do some of those off-season chores.
Now’s the time to make any repairs to motorized equipment you use. I’m sure the first thing you thought of was the lawnmower but anything else with a motor will benefit from some TLC. With a sturdy rag wipe off any excess leaves, bark, or dirt. Spray any joints or areas that might rust with WD-40 or a similar lubricant.Some motors need annual oiling or blade sharpening. For that I recommend a trip to the nearby lawnmower repair shop.
This is also an excellent time to clean and sharpen your hand tools. Those pruners, saws, and shovels will be in better shape next spring if you spend a few minutes with them now.
1. First, clean off any dirt or debris on every surface you can reach. Dirt that is left on a tool often carries with it some moisture, which can foster rust.
2. Use an 8″ metal file with a handle (sometimes called a bastard file) to sharpen all cutting surfaces. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out YouTube for a video.
3. Use a light lubricant on any hinges or moving parts (e.g. where the scissor parts cross). I always prefer WD-40.
4. Wipe all metal surfaces with a light lubricant to prevent rusting. Discard the rag when you are done. Oily rags are often a contributing factor in garage and shed fires.
A little time spent now will pay off big time come spring. When that first sunny morning arrives and the birds are singing in the blossoming trees you will be ready to grab your tools and go out into the garden. All the best to you as you prepare for the future.
P.S. I can’t resist telling you about the origin of WD-40. A company working for NASA (Rocket Chemical Company) needed a substance that would prevent corrosion in the coastal weather of Cape Canaveral. They didn’t want to paint the rockets because the paint would add unnecessary weight and mean more fuel was needed for takeoff. So WD-40 was invented, a thin, light lubricant that would stand up to sea air.