February 26, 2016
Tool Care: Get Your Tool Shed Spring-Ready!
According to the groundhog, spring is right around the corner – is your tool shed spring-ready? Hopefully, when you packed everything away for the winter, you spent some time taking care of your tools and making sure they are up to the task for the next season. Like most avid gardeners, you probably have a variety of tools to choose from and it is important to take care of them to make them last a lifetime. After all, buying new tools each year is not something any of us want to do. Here are some things you can do to keep your tools looking and working as good as the first time you used them.
Sharpen your tools
Keeping your lawn mower blade sharp is extremely important for a healthy first cut and a great looking lawn all season long. A sharp mower blade will properly cut the blades of grass without damaging them. Dull lawn mower blades will bend and rip your grass, rather than giving it a clean cut. Sharpen your blade after you last use it in the fall or before your first use in the spring. Be sure to do a mid-season sharpening as well.
Sharpening the blades of your pruning tools will not only make them work properly but will allow you to cut through your plants with ease. Just as your lawn mower blade, sharpen your pruning tools after you use them last or before you use them in the spring. Luckily for you, we offer the tools necessary for you to do it yourself! It is vital to maintain the natural bevel of most pruning tools. If you disrupt this, they will stick during operation and not cut as effectively.
Though it isn’t as common, keeping your garden hoe or weeder sharp will save you a ton of time (and energy) when trying to cut through those pesky weeds during early garden prep. The same goes for the tines of your stone rake. Keep the points sharp, defined, and straight for optimal leveling and raking. You can even go as far as keeping the edge of your spade sharp and the point defined. You’d be surprised how much easier digging will be!
Clean and oil your tools
Any garden tool that has moving parts should be oiled. This includes not only your pruning tools, but also chainsaw blades, hedge trimmers, weed eaters, etc. Ideally, you should oil your tools after each use but definitely make sure they are oiled before packing them away for the season. There’s no such thing as over-oiling your tools so after each use, give them a quick spray of WD-40. Also, keep your tools clean. After you are finished using them each day, rinse them off and allow them to dry. This will keep them working properly and prevent them from rusting.
Store your tools
Proper storage of your tools serves many purposes. It keeps everything neat and organized so you can find exactly what you need the moment you need it. It also keeps your tools from getting damaged as everything has a home and isn’t just thrown in the corner of your shed somewhere. The best-case scenario is to hang your tools up. This keeps them off of the ground and keeps them dry so they don’t rust. If you don’t’ have the ability to hang your tools, here is a great way to store them. Get a large bucket or container and fill it with sand and some vegetable oil. After rinsing your tools off and drying them, place them in the bucket. The sand and oil mixture will keep them protected and keep them from rusting. Then when your ready to use them, simply rinse off the sand and you’re good to go.
Inventory your tools
Knowing what you have is just as important as keeping what you have looking like new. Keeping an up to date inventory of your tools will save you a lot of time and money each growing season. This can be as simple as taking a look at what you have each spring and figuring out what you will need to purchase (if anything) in order to complete the gardening task you’ve planned for. You should take this a step further and log your inventory. We have these awesome new gardening journals for you to scribble everything down in. After all, you don’t want to go out and buy all new hand tools if you have a whole bin full of them buried in your shed somewhere. Ideally, when you pack everything away, generate a list for yourself and keep it in a safe place. This way, when spring comes, you will know what you have–unless of course something got legs and walked away. But, if you followed the above mentioned storage techniques, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Keeping your tool shed ready is a relatively simple task if you are willing to put in the time and effort. Though it may seem tedious or redundant, taking care of your tools after every time you use them, properly storing them, and cataloging them will ensure you always have the right tool for the right job. Every single one of your tools plays an important role in your yearly gardening efforts so you want to make sure you take good care of them year after year. A little effort goes a long way to ensuring your tools stand the test of time and operate like new.
Dustin Kratochwill | Website Design & Customer Service