Tag Archives: garden hand tools

Winter Care For Garden Tools

The home garden tools are often forgotten from the time we place them in their winter

storage until next spring.  But, one of the best things you can do to care for your tools is to properly prepare them for the next gardening season.

You may be wondering what’s so good about doing more work in the winter when those tools will not be needed for several more months.  There are a couple of very good reasons to properly put your tools to rest for the season.

One, is the longevity of the tool.  Yes, your tools will last longer if properly cared for.  That may not be the first thing on your mind, as tools will last for several years without much care.  But, tools are expensive and will continue to rise in cost over time.  That old shovel or rake in the shed will look like a real bargain if you need to replace it.

The second reason is the most important.  Your tools will give you much better service and will be more of a pleasure to use if they are given the respectful care they deserve. 

For instance, if you do not clean that clay off of your shovel from the last time you used it, the next time you pick it up it will not go in the soil very easily.  That means you will have to put out more effort to shove that shovel into the soil, creating more sweat and fatigue.  I do not know about you, but I am not into sweat and fatigue.

Plus, a bonus is, clean organized tools make us feel better about ourselves.

How To Put Your Tools To Bed For The Winter

We will take our above mentioned shovel as our example of how to care for our tools.

The first thing to do is to take a scraper, like a putty knife, and scratch the caked on dirt from the shovel.  I do this each time I use my tools to make them easier to use the next time.

Then, get out the wire brush and scrub off the remainder of the dirt.  Now, squirt a little motor oil on the surface of the shovel and take a rag and spread the oil liberally over the metal surface.

My first, off the farm, job was in a green house at Indiana University working in the horticulture department.  The head lady there “insisted” that every tool be cleaned and oiled after each use.  All the tools looked great all the time and were always ready for use.  Plus, I learn how to care for my tools.

Whoa now, don’t put that shovel in the shed, yet!  What about the handle?  Inspect the handle for splinters and cracks.  If you find splinters take a fine toothed file and knock the splinters off and sand, with sand paper, to smooth the handle. 

If the handle is cracked you may be able to tape it up with electrical tape and it will hold for years.  If the crack is beyond taping you will have to replace the handle or buy a new shovel.

One last thing to do is take a rag saturated with linseed oil and wipe it over the

handle.  This will keep the wood in the handle, assuming it is a wood handle, from drying out creating those splinters and cracks.

Now, your home garden tools will be ready for your first job in the spring.

Great gardening,

Steve