Care and feeding your garden tools.
Garden tools will last 50 years or more if you use clean and stored them properly.
Cutting tools, pruning clippers / shears / loppers and knifes. Keep them sharp. Sharp tools make the job easier and safer.
After each use, wash / clean, sharpen as needed and sterilize using a strong mixture of bleach and soapy water.
Dry well and apply a light coat of good quality oil to all metal parts.
Store your tools out of direct sunlight.
Tools with wood handles need to be wiped down with a light coat of mineral oil.
Invest in a good quality small sharpening (honing) stone and a 6 or 8 inch fine cutting hand file. Both will last 50 years if they are not abused and are properly cared for and stored when not in use.
Small wood boxes available at most hobby stores works well to hold your file(s) an honing stones when not in use. Don’t forget to wipe your wood storage boxes with mineral oil 2 or 3 times a year.
Digging and cutting tools, Hedge clippers, shovels, hoes, spading forks and rakes.
Scrape and wash to remove dirt and mud from your tools after each use.
Keep your tools sharp.
Invest in a good quality 12 or 14 inch hand file.
After cleaning, drying and sharpening as needed apply a light coat of oil to all metal parts.
Tools with wood handles need to be wiped with a light coat of mineral oil.
Plastic and fiberglass handled tools must be stored out of direct sunlight. The sun’s UV rays will damage plastic and fiberglass.
Your garden hand tools are now ready to be stored away for winter and will be in top condition for use in your spring garden.
Garden tools I can’t be without
Today I was reading a blog about what tools are need or useful in gardening. This set me to thinking, after 50 years of gardening [mostly vegetables], what tools do I really use and can’t do without?
Shovels, I have several styles[types] round nose, flat bladed, long handles, short handles, standard width and narrow bladed shovels. However the true fact is I only use 2 of them.
A short D-handled with a 14 inch long bladed 4 inch wide spade to dig ditches to install water lines or to install under ground electrical service wiring. The other is a long handled, round nose shovel. It is used to till my garden, digs holes for transplanting everything from tomato’s to trees.
Hoe’s, I have 2 that I can’t live without. The first is a long handled, light weight hoe used to cut small weeds and lightly till soil around and near my garden plants. The other is much heaver industrial strength hoe to remove those really tough weeds and clumps of grass between the rows.
Rakes, I have one that is what I call a garden rake, about 14 inches wide, large strong teeth to rake dead plants, weeds and grass into piles for removal to my compost pile. The other is a steel spring toothed grass rake used to rake freshly mowed grass and leaf litter for removal into the compost pile.
Hand trowels, I have 1 I use to dig transplant holes when I transplant seedling plants. All the others are in a box pushed far under a bottom shelf. Over the years I have collected all sizes and shapes, some designed for digging others for hand weeding and a few for raking around my garden plants.
However like many gardeners my age, it takes a bit of effort to get down on my knees and a 911 call to get help to stand up again. They were never used much and now are only taking up space in my garden shed. They might be useful in a greenhouse or potting shed, I have neither.
Wheel barrow, or a little ‘Red Wagon’ for moving compost, dirt and other such things from one place to another in my yard and garden. Also useful for carrying great grand kids around as well.
Pruning shears, buy high quality shears, they will last many years if you use care, keep them sharp, sterlize and wipe down with a light coat of oil after each use. Shears are mostly used to cut and prune vines, bushes and small tree limbs.
I have at one time or another in the past 50 years purchased all sorts of ‘easy to use’ gadgets @ only $19.95, just to find when I removed them from the box they were junk, useless and nothing like the wizz bang gadget I saw advertised on TV. Being the sort of guy I am, I would gladly sell this junk at a yard sale and if that failed maybe I should give them to a competing gardener ‘friend’. Grinning..
Last tool in my tool kit is two (2) red street paving bricks. One I have marked as brick ‘A’ the other is marked brick ‘B’. They are very useful in insect control.
Step 1. Place brick ‘B’ firmly on the ground, being careful to insure it is as level as you can get it.
Step 2. Remove insect by hand, using care not to cause damage to your garden plant.
Step 3. Place offending insect near the center of brick ‘B’.
Step 4. Quickly using caution to keep your fingers firmly on the sides of brick ‘A’ Smash the undesirable insect using brick ‘A’.
This tool is fool proof and 100% effective if used according to instructions.
It uses no man made chemicals and can be considered – organic insect control.
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Why is common sense so uncommon?