The right tool is important for every job, and gardening is not an exception. Especially with modern garden designs that dictate neatness. But, being outdoor tools, garden tools are often neglected. Since they are used for dirty jobs, we tend to leave them dirty, and expose them to elements after use. With such care, they are soon ruined and can only be thrown away. Replacing your entire gardening set is not cheap. A better option is to maintain and store them properly to last for years. This is particularly important at the end of the season when they need to stay intact for months.
Here are some tips to add years to your garden tools.
The elements cause the most damage, so always put the tools away. Even if it’s a dry season and no rain is expected. If you leave them on the ground, moisture from the ground will cause the metal to rust while the wood will rot. For the same reason, keep them off the floor even if you store them in the shed or garage. Long-handled tools can be hung on the wall, while you can find a tool box for the smaller ones or hang them on a pegboard. With pegboards you can always see if you are missing a tool and searching for tools takes seconds. If you have to leave the long tools, such as rakes and shovels on the floor, make sure to lean them against the wall so they would not fall and break. If you have not got a shed, hire expert residential builders to build an addition to your garage, which is much cheaper than building a separate shed.
Clean and dry
Clean the tools after every use to keep them in good shape. Wash the mud off with a hose and scrub with a brush if it really sticks on. If you forgot to clean the tools and the dirt caked on them, soak them in a bucket filled with hot water, leave them sit for some time, and try again. It is worth repeating once again: moisture is your tools’ biggest enemy, so dry them well before storing. Keep an old rag in the shed for this purpose.
Take care of rust
The best way to keep the rust away is to rust-proof your tools. Treat them with a rust prevention paint or spray. If the rust has already formed, get rid of it with a rust remover. There are many rust removers on the market, but always opt for those that are non-toxic and organic. In general, try to stick to environmentally friendly solutions, because that is what gardening is all about. Use only natural fertilizers and tools that do not run on gas or oil. Lubricate the tools with moving parts, like loppers, shears, and pruners, from time to time to ensure smooth work.
Many tools have a wooden handle. This is usually the first part that needs to be replaced. To extend their lifespan, sand the handles with sandpaper at least once a year (this will also protect your hands from splinters) and coat them with linseed oil or any wood varnish. Sharping tools does not take long, it is simple, and cheap. Sharp tools, on the other hand, are more effective, they save your time, but they also wear more slowly because you do not have to abuse them to get the work done.
Even if you have not been taking care of your tools, it is never too late to get old tools back into shape. Do it now.