Winter is a great time for garden enthusiasts to take stock of their equipment and to practice basic tool maintenance. Most tools require some type of maintenance to keep them in working order. Here are a few tips that you can do over the winter season to prepare for the spring.
Â Make sure tools are properly stored during the winter. It is recommended that they are hung to keep them out of the way when not in use. Also keeping them off the ground will protect them from moisture.
Â Survey tools for rust. If there is a small amount, apply a little machine oil to the surface and scrub the area with a wire brush. If a tool has a serious rust problem then its time to use a rust dissolver. Follow the directions on the bottle of the rust dissolver. If there is any reminding rust after using the dissolver a wire brush should do the trick. Coating your tools with oil when storing them over the winter will stop the oxidation process, preventing rust.
Â Any wooden handled tool should be sanded down with sandpaper. Apply linseed oil with a rag to help seal the wood and keep the handle splinter free.
Â Sharpen any digging or cutting tool by filing the edge. These are often the fastest tools to be worn down. A sharpened tool makes gardening life easier and prolongs the life of the tool. To maintain a sharp edge throughout the season use a medium-grit sharpening stone. Make sure to take care not to injure yourself while performing these tasks. Wear the proper protective equipment such as gloves and eye wear.
To keep your tools in good working order throughout the season remember to remove any dirt or other debris from the tool once you are finished working with it. Doing this will also prevent the spread of plant diseases. Use a wire or nylon brush to remove any caked on mud that can not be hosed off. Let your tool completely dry before storing it away. A stored wet tool will most likely end up with a rust issue.
Follow theses simple steps and you will be a happy gardener come spring.