Do you finish gardening for the year and leave your tools dirty, dull and abandoned in the garage?  That’s bad practice!  Clean tools last longer, are easier to use and stop the spread of disease.  Here are some tips to have your tools in tip-top shape for the spring.

  • It is important to clean soil from your tools every time you garden, but even more important at the end of the season.
  • Use water and/or a wire brush to clean.  Dry your tools carefully so they don’t rust.
  • If your tools are rusted, remove rust with a wire brush.
  • Sharp tools are more efficient than dull ones. Use a metal flat file to sharpen edges.  Make sure you sharpen at the same angle as the blade.  If there are nicks or cuts on the blade, make sure to file those out as well.  If necessary, use a stone to smooth.
  • After sharpening, use a paper towel to wipe on oil (use WD40, machine oil or grease) to seal the blades and keep metal from rusting.  
  • If your tools have wooden handles, you can sand them and apply one coat of boiled linseed oil, followed by another coat after the handles have dried.
  • If your pruning shears have sap on the blades, use fine steel wool to clean them.
  • Store your tools in a cool, dry place.

If you follow these tips your foray into the spring garden will be one with a clean start, ready to face whatever nature has brought your way!

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