Protecting Your Garden Tools for the Winter
Winter can be challenging not only to our garden but to our tools too. Good gardening tools don’t come cheap. However, proper care for them all year round can make them last a lifetime. That’s why preparing and storing them well is key for them to be functional for the next seasons to come.
Below are tips to protect your garden tools for the winter.
Cleaning your tools for the winter
The first step you must take is a thorough cleanse of your tools. It’s a proactive way of ensuring no mud, dirt and other gunk are left behind. We swear by a trusty coarse metal brush similar to what one uses when heavy duty grills need TLC. Scrape off the extra bits from your tools. When necessary, you can scrape rust away using sandpaper. Remove splinters from the handles. Once you’ve brushed and sanded off all the dirt, wipe it clean with a dry rag.
The next step is to wipe down your tools with an oiled rag. Some would use motor oil but we prefer to use vegetable oil, as it is less toxic but more economical and just as effective.
Protecting your wooden handles
Garden tool maintenance during winter doesn’t stop at preventing rust. The wooden parts of your tools are just as important. Without proper care, wood that is stored for a long time is prone to mildew, splinters and the like. They are also exposed to premature wear-down.
Using plant-based oil to wipe wooden handles with is all you need to get them through the winter. Clean and dry them with boiled coconut, linseed or walnut oil. Do this in a warm place so the oil can best penetrate the wood and will dry quickly.
Caring for your power equipment
Part of protecting your garden tools for the winter is caring for your power equipment, from mowers to tractors and trimmers, all these heavy tools need a good amount of prepping too.
Changing the oil is a good start. Let the engine run for at least 15 minutes to heat up leftover sludge. If you skip this step, it will be difficult to start your engine post-winter. Furthermore, use a fuel stabilizer so the remaining gas won’t gum up inside. Grease all the joints while you’re at it, so they are ready to use next season.
Using the old tools in a sand bucket trick
Once you’ve cleaned, sanded and oiled your garden tools, the next thing to do is to ensure they are stored the best way possible. A nifty trick is to use the old tools in a sand bucket.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Fill up a big enough bucket with sand. This is where you will store your garden tools up right for the rest of winter.
- This sand must be mixed with multi-purpose oil, or a mixture of WD40 and linseed oil. You don’t want to use motor oil for this.
- Moisten the sand with the oil. Make sure it’s not too wet that the consistency ends up becoming clay-like.
- Plunge your tools metal-ends down and place in a cool, dry place.
Storing your soil care products
Every gardener must remember that fertilizer and weed killer bags that are left unopened and unsealed will lose their effectiveness. Take that easy extra step of moving them to resealable bags and containers. It’s also best to vacuum all the air out. This way, you don’t need to waste any of it, and end up having to buy a new batch for the next season.