Garden Tools Maintenance Checklist

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  • Use a garden trowel to loosen caked-on dirt and give them a spray with the hose.
  • Keep your loppers, shears, and pruners sharp and at the ready. At the end of each use, wipe them down with a dry rag, then give them a spray of penetrating oil like WD-40.
  • Fill a five-gallon bucket with sand, followed by a quart of vegetable oil. When you are finished in the garden, plunge your clean shovels and hoes into the sand several times. You can even store your shovels right in the oily sand.
  • Do not leave them out in the sun and rain. They will deteriorate very quickly.
  • Sharp tools make all the difference. Here’s what you’ll need to keep them cutting.
  • Use these first to remove stubborn dirt and rust.
  • Drip a few drops of oil onto the stone and with a curved motion, rub the sharp edge of the cutting blade against the stone.
  • These are called bastard files and come in many sizes. Start with medium grit and move onto fine grit as the sharpening progresses. Secure your tool in a vise for safety. Push the file across the blade and away from your body at a 45 degree angle.
  • Use these first to remove stubborn dirt and rust.
  • Drip a few drops of oil onto the stone and with a curved motion, rub the sharp edge of the cutting blade against the stone.
  • These are called bastard files and come in many sizes. Start with medium grit and move onto fine grit as the sharpening progresses. Secure your tool in a vise for safety. Push the file across the blade and away from your body at a 45 degree angle.
  • Once your tools are sharp and at the ready, give them a spray with vegetable oil.
  • Use the manufacturer’s guidelines for instructions specific to your mower.
  • Remove the blade and sharpen as detailed for shovels and hoes above. Before you reattach the blade to your mower, check the balance to make sure both sides are weighted equally.
  • Be sure to use ethanol-free gas to extend the life of your mower.
  • Use the manufacturer’s guidelines for instructions specific to your mower.
  • Remove the blade and sharpen as detailed for shovels and hoes above. Before you reattach the blade to your mower, check the balance to make sure both sides are weighted equally.
  • Be sure to use ethanol-free gas to extend the life of your mower.
  • If cared for properly, your garden tools will last a lifetime, but it’s still wise to check your tools at the end of the season to see if any need replacing.
  • First sand your handles with medium-grit sandpaper to get rid of splinters. Then, coat liberally with linseed oil to preserve the wood throughout the winter.
  • If you live in an area that sees freezing temperatures, you must drain your hoses before the cold weather sets in. Store them in the garage for the winter to help prolong their life.
  • Gasoline does not overwinter well. Either use your mower for mulching fall leaves, or run it dry before storing it for the winter.
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