Ask a Master Gardener: Properly clean, store tools now for spring gardening – Jefferson City News Tribune

Although we have had a pretty nice fall, there isn’t much going on in the garden, but before you call it quits for the gardening year, make sure you’ve taken care of a few housekeeping chores.

Gardening tools need special care at the end of the season to ensure they’re in working order come spring. Here’s some steps to take care of your gardening supplies before winter.

Determine which tools need repaired, sharpened or replaced. If you do the work now, you can then put your tools away knowing everything is taken care of.

Fix handles on shovels, hoes, rakes and other tools. Sand wood handles with sand paper. To preserve wood handles, coat them in linseed oil.

Sharpen the blades of pruners, hedge clippers and grass clippers. There are methods using grinders, files or sharpening stones. Determine which method is best for you and research the technique.

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Although we have had a pretty nice fall, there isn’t much going on in the garden, but before you call it quits for the gardening year, make sure you’ve taken care of a few housekeeping chores.

Gardening tools need special care at the end of the season to ensure they’re in working order come spring. Here’s some steps to take care of your gardening supplies before winter.

Determine which tools need repaired, sharpened or replaced. If you do the work now, you can then put your tools away knowing everything is taken care of.

Fix handles on shovels, hoes, rakes and other tools. Sand wood handles with sand paper. To preserve wood handles, coat them in linseed oil.

Sharpen the blades of pruners, hedge clippers and grass clippers. There are methods using grinders, files or sharpening stones. Determine which method is best for you and research the technique.

Garden tools can get worn out over time. If anything appears to be beyond repair, buy new tools. You can usually find better prices on garden tools in the winter.

It is a good idea to clean tools during the gardening season but especially before putting them away for winter. Cleaning tools not only helps them last longer, it also helps to keep them working effectively.

Another reason to clean garden tools is to prevent rust and the spread of diseases found in the soil and on plants.

A wire brush and some water will remove dried and caked dirt on trowels and the tines of garden rakes. Make sure you dry tools after cleaning. Before you put tomato cages or stakes away, clean the dirt and any plant debris off of them.

Metal parts on shovels, hoes or similar equipment can be cleaned with steel wool. Wipe the metal dry and coat with linseed oil. Linseed oil is derived from the dried seeds of the flax plant and therefore a great eco-friendly alternative to standard petroleum based oil.

Here is something interesting: If you’re dealing with rust, brewing strong black tea and immersing the blades of hand tools in it for several hours should work to lift rust off. For tough rust, try sandpaper or a wire bristle brush.

Tune up your tiller and lawn mower. Empty your tiller’s fuel tank before putting it out of sight in your shed or garage, or add a fuel stabilizer. Also, change your tiller’s oil, check the spark plugs and clean the air filter. Make sure your mower’s deck is clean after you’ve mowed for the final time in the fall.

Organize and drain hoses before storing them. To avoid getting kinks in your garden hoses, hang a coffee can on a nail, then loop your hose over and around the coffee can. Hanging a hose directly on a nail can create permanent kinks. Also, connect hose ends together so insects don’t hibernate in them.

Keep tools off of the floor to prevent moisture and rust over winter. Hang them up instead. Make sure the teeth of rakes are pointing down and away from walkways in your …….

Source: https://www.newstribune.com/news/features/story/2021/dec/05/ask-a-master-gardener-properly-clean-store-tools-now-for-spring-gardening/896869/

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