Many of us are still dealing with frigid weather. Spring can seem a long way off but a month from now things will be different. But before the weather warms you can get ahead of the game and get your garden tools ready for the season.
Find Your Tools
No , I’m not kidding. With the holiday months behind us, many things have probably been moved around in your garage or shed. Shovels and rakes have been left to drift into the back of the storage areas. A few may even have been left outside and need some serious TLC. Go on a tool hunt and retrieve them for service.
Sharpen and Repair
This is also an excellent time to repair, clean, and sharpen your hand tools. While you’re doing this, make note of any that need replacing and put that on your shopping list.
- First, use a brush to 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.
- Use an 8″ metal file with a handle (sometimes called a bastard file, why I don’t know) to straighten and sharpen all cutting edges. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask at your local lawn and garden supply house. If you have a power grinder, that will also work fine. Just remember to wear safety glasses.
- Use a light lubricant on any hinges or moving parts (e.g. where the scissor parts cross). My personal favorite is WD-40 although 3-in-1 oil works too.
- 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.
- Finally, check the handles for damage, cracks, or splinters. Use a medium grade sandpaper on wooden handles. Finish off with brightly colored duct tape to help you find them when they are dropped in the garden.
You should also make any repairs to motorized equipment you use. Got a hedge trimmer that makes an embarrassing mess of your bushes? Does your lawn mower make funny crop circles that make the neighbors chuckle? Take them in and get them fixed now during the off-season.
Get Ready for Action
Once your tools are in good shape you will need something to carry them to the garden. This can be as simple as one of those 5 gallon all-purpose buckets sold in hardware stores. Garden carts and wheel barrow come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Find one that suits your needs. Then when the sun warms the soil and spring arrives you will be ready to go.