It's satisfying to care for your beloved tools
Maintaining your garden tools
Hoedag garden tool care and maintenance guide.
First off always buy the best you can afford, it's worth the extra few bucks for tools that will last throughout the many seasons and that will continue to perform under constant use. Subsequently, you'll want to take good care of them. To not only protect your investment, but also reduce the chances of spreading weed seed or soil-born pathogens around your yard. Easier said than done, right? Tool maintenance doesn't have to be total drudgery. It only takes a few minutes after every use. If not every use is possible than try your best to make it work for you every couple of uses. So here are a few tips so you can get the best from your tools and all it takes is a little tinder loving care, because lets face it where would we be with out our trusty garden tools.
Step 1 Make a habit of cleaning off your tools after each use! If your tools were exposed to diseased plants or pest-infected soil, give them a quick soak in a diluted solution of 2 cups household bleach mixed with 1 gallon water, than rinse in plain water or wipe with a cotton pad soaked with rubbing alcohol than dry thoroughly with a towel or rag. Or keep disinfecting wipes handy to clean off any sap, bacteria and fungus this is nice if your looking for a quick clean up option. Wet soil is the main culprit of corrosion, try wiping off any mud or debris clinging to your tools. These simple steps will keep them in tiptop shape, it will also ensure your tools will be ready to use on your next garden adventure.
Step 2 Store your tools in a dry and protected area, preferably hanging on the wall. Rust loves to take over neglected tools left outside in the elements, moisture is the enemy of gardening tools! If you live in a climate where you get a lot of fog or it is mainly humid it would be a good idea to ensure your tools are stored in a garage or shed this will certainly prolong the life of the tools. Even when rain is not in your forecast, tools left outside are exposed to moisture from wet grass and dew.
Step 3(a) Wipe down your tools with 3-IN-ONE Multipurpose oil after each use. Rust on any of your tools is the result of oxygen and water reacting with the metal, so the purpose of the oils is to create a preventative barrier between the metal and oxygen/water. Use it to coat your shovel and hoes remember a little goes a long way so all it takes is just an ultra -thin layer.
Step 3 (b) You might say you don't have the time for that extensive of tool care, here is your solution. Fill a bucket with clean sand and stir in just enough 3-IN-ONE oil to lightly dampen the sand it should look slightly moist not look oily. Make sure this bucket is placed in a sheltered area preferably close to your garden area. To use simply brush off any debris clinging to your tool than stick the tool blade or tines down into the sand. You ask how does this work? The sand helps keep the blades nice and sharp while the oil works to prevent rust from forming on your beloved tools. This method is also excellent for storing your tools over the wintertime when they are not in use. The sand bucket is also a beneficial way to keep track of your tools, this method ensures you will always know where your tools are.
Step 4 Don't neglect your beloved wooden handle, well tended handles last longer. This saves you money and time spent in the long run. Smooth oiled handles feel great in your hand and this means less blisters. After each use wipe down the handles with a damp cloth than apply a thin layer of oil with a rag and allow to penetrate for 5-10 minutes than rub the handle with a clean rag until the surface feels dry, let cure over night. These steps ensure increased protection. Check for cracks or weakening if needed lightly sand and apply your favorite wood oil. For Ash handles Danish and teak oil are the best and for beech wood use danish oil. Can't find the wood oil recommended than reach for a good alternative boiled linseed oil this oil is made from flax seed and is also a great choice for garden tool handles because raw linseed oil can take days to dry, boiled linseed oil is your best choice. For minor cracks you can reinforced the handle with heavy duty tape such as hockey-stick tape.