As the short days and dropping temperatures signal the coming winter, most of us scramble to get ready for the cold days ahead. Gardeners are no exception!
If we take care of our tools now, when the first warm days of spring beckon, we will be ready to meet any outdoor challenges. Good, properly stored tools make all the difference.
The best way to insure that your tools last is to take care of them. Don't put them away wet and caked with soil. Wipe or hose them off and store them dry and clean.
When you store them for the winter, be sure to rub a penetrating oil such as WD#40 into the metal. This is a good idea after every use, but never is this more important than before you put them away for the winter. This keeps the tools rust-free and any working parts operating.
Now is the time to rub the wooden handles of your garden tools with linseed oil to prevent drying and splintering. Ideally, you should also do this when you bring them out in the spring.
It can’t hurt to put your tools away nice and sharp. It’s good practice to sharpen them once or twice a year (or more often, depending on your needs and activity) with a whetstone. File off burrs and nicks with a metal rasp. You may opt to take your tools to a garden center for sharpening.
It's tempting to toss the tools on the floor of the garage or garden shed, but instead take a few seconds to hang them on a wall or store them in a spacious bucket without crowding.
Take a good inventory of your tools and think about what you might need before spring. Purchase the tools sometime this winter when you have a yearning to garden, but the weather prohibits it. New tools will help a little!
Your tools are ready for the spring, and also for any odd jobs that might come up during the winter. You know exactly what you have, where they are, and that they are in good shape.
Now all you have to do is wait for warm weather!