Whether you’ve just picked your final harvest of the year, or you’re waiting for the ground to thaw after a cold winter, it’s never too early to start preparing your garden tools for the next season. Having tools that are well taken care of will ensure your garden is too.
Here are five ways to get your garden tools ready for spring!
1. Assess the Tools You Need
Before the gardening season begins, It’s a good idea to take inventory of the garden tools you currently own and note which ones may be required for your gardening projects ahead. This will be unique to everyone, but there are several standard tools every home gardener should always keep in their collection.
- Gardening gloves: to protect your hands
- Watering can or garden hose – to keep your garden well hydrated
- Handheld and full-length shovels: for digging up plants, creating holes, and moving soil
- Hoes and forks: to loosen densely-packed soil
- Shears: for pruning and cutting plants
- Sharpeners: including files, blades, and whetstone
- Wheelbarrow: to transfer heavier soil, plant, and landscaping materials like compost, large shrubs or trees, and rocks
Once you know what you have to work with, you’ll be able to determine if there are any additional tools you’ll need to rent or buy for the season ahead.
2. Materials You’ll Need to Clean
Now it’s time to grab your cleaning gloves, buckets, and sprays! Here’s what you’ll need to start prepping your tools for the upcoming spring gardening season!
- Cleaning gloves
- Dry cloth or scouring pad
- Wire wool
- Buckets, warm water, and soap
- Garden hose
- Rubbing alcohol
- Lubricant such as coconut or vegetable oil
- Files or whetstone
- Handy tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches
3. Wash & Wipe Down
Next, take a moment to conduct a quick visual scan to assess the condition that your tools are in. Separate the tools that only require a quick wipe or wash, and set aside the ones that may need a little extra maintenance or even repairs.
For the tools you have ready for washing, you’ll want to start by removing any excess dirt. This is crucial to make sure any bacteria living on your tools doesn’t get transferred to your garden.
Start by wiping off loose dirt with a dry cloth or scourer. For any dirt that has clung onto your tools and is difficult to remove, you can use wire wool. Soak each tool in warm, soapy water and scrub them with a sponge. For larger tools, use a garden hose to spray away stuck-on mud. Finally, leave your tools to air dry.
After this step, wipe any blades down with rubbing alcohol and lubricate any springs or hinges. This is important to help your tools function optimally and also protect them from rust.
Pro Tip: Coconut or vegetable oil makes for a great natural lubricant! These are great alternatives to typical store-bought varieties that are not always the most eco-friendly options.
4. Sharpening Time
Any tools for pruning and cutting, like scissors and shears, will always benefit from a good sharpening. It’s handy to have files or whetstones around to restore and polish dull blades. A good rule for your green thumb to keep in mind is to run the sharpening device across your tool’s cutting edge three to four times. However, if you have an older tool that hasn’t been touched in a while, it may need more work.
Ensure you use caution with all sharpening devices! For larger tools like shovels, secure them in a heavy-duty vice for additional stability.
Pro Tip: When you’re pruning your flowers and shrubs it’s best to wipe you equipment down between each cut. Doing so will reduce the risk of spreading diseases.
5. Tackle Repairs
If you’ve got any old tools that are broken or falling apart, it’s best to replace them with some quality upgrades. However, for anything that just needs a little tightening up, it’s worth doing the task on your own with some simple fixes.
Start by grabbing a wrench or screwdriver to firm up any loose bolts. Next, assess whether your tools are missing any pieces like screws or springs. If you’ve got any tools with wooden handles, this is also a great time to sand them down for a smooth and shiny finish.
Not only will fixing your own tools bring you satisfaction, it’s also much more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly than purchasing a brand new tool.
6. Ensure Your Tools Have a Home
Giving your tools a proper place to live throughout all seasons has many benefits. Firstly, it provides a simple way to keep all your tools organized from year to year. Secondly, keeping them in a secure location will protect them from damage. Thirdly, well-kept tools and having a dedicated space to store them will add to your garden aesthetic.
When all your tools are neat and tidy, you’ll know exactly where to find them whenever you need them. There’s plenty of ways to keep your tools in excellent condition!
- Build or buy a storage shed with enough spaces to fit all your unique tools.
- Invest in multi-use outdoor furniture like stylish patio seating, that double as storage boxes.
- Dedicate a portion of your garage to vertical shelving that can house tools directly or fit extra storage containers.
Ready, Set, Spring!
Just because it’s freezing outside, doesn’t mean you have to put your love for gardening on hold. Winter is an excellent time to prepare your garden tools for the warmer seasons ahead. By following these five steps, you’ll be ready to use all of your garden tools as soon as spring arrives!
How do you keep your garden tools in great shape all year round? Share any additional tool care tips in the comments below!