The season is winding down and we’re just about ready to start putting our gardening tools away until the weather warms up again in the spring. Before we can do that though, we’ll need to go over a few steps of maintenance. Having proper upkeep of your tools can extend their span of usefulness and keep you from making costly repairs. Let’s get started!
One of the best and most effective ways to keep your tools in pristine condition for the spring is to clean them of all debris that may have become adhered to them throughout the season. For example, shovels should be hosed down and scraped of any leftover dirt with a putty knife. You’ll then want to coat them in a thin layer of oil/lubricant to protect them from rust. Vegetable oil is commonly used for this purpose but be aware that it may turn rancid in the heat next year and let off a foul odor.
Another very useful method for cleaning dirt and debris off of tools is the bucket of sand approach. It’s almost exactly what it sounds like too! Get a bucket that is large enough to fit the head of your shovel/spade/pitchfork/etc and fill it with sand. Mix oil (linseed, mineral, or vegetable oil are fine) in with the sand and submerge your tool into the mixture. Do this repeatedly to clear dirt off of your tool and also coat it with a protective layer of oil. Any residual sand left on your tool won’t be damaging to it.