Organic Gardens Need Clean Tools

Spring is the Time to Sharpen Your Pruners and Remove the Rust

With spring in the air, a gardener’s thoughts fly immediately to fragrant flowers, gorgeous plants and delicious homegrown vegetables. No visions of deformed fruit, rust on leaves and other horrible diseases. Make this a reality by conforming to good gardening habits and by keeping your tools clean and sanitary. They are less likely to transmit diseases from one plant to another if kept clean and hygienic.

Quality tools can last you for years. Who wants to waste time and money and contribute to landfill by purchasing cheap tools every couple of years. Buy the best you can afford and then look after them. They can last a lifetime with a little bit of care.

Good gardeners generally clean off their tools in the Fall when they ‘put their garden to bed’ for the winter. If you haven’t, don’t worry. Here are a few tips to start the gardening year off well and on how to maintain your tools.

Sharpen and Clean Your Pruners and Other Gardening Tools

One of the first tasks of Spring is cutting back old growth and that can only be done with a sharp pair of pruners or loppers.

  • Remove light rust by scrubbing surfaces with a little bit of vinegar and salt. Then, wipe the metal parts of pruners, shears and loppers with a rag dipped in vegetable oil.
  • Clean off any soil, grass clippings, weed detritus, or other garden materials immediately after use.
  • Never let your tools remain wet or left out in the rain. Always dry them off and wipe them with vegetable oil to prevent rust.
  • Sharpen your tools through a knife sharpening service or you can do it yourself. A hone or wetstone can be used for sharpening cutting tools. A file can be used to smooth down nicks and the edges of shovels and trowels.

Other gardening tools like shovels, forks, trowels and spades can also benefit from being scrubbed clean with water or sand and then oiled as well. Any implement with an edge can be sharpened using a hone or wetstone as well.

Manual and Power Lawnmower Maintenance

If you didn’t wash and clean your mower in late Fall, do so now. Scrape off any accumulated debris from the bottom of the lawn mower before washing the blades. In his web article Guide to Basic Lawn Mower Maintenance Keith Kingston recommends draining the fuel tank and replacing the fuel filter. The air filter housing also should be cleaned and the air filter replaced.

Check Out: How to Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades

Spark plugs should be checked for corrosion and wear. Spark plugs are easy to replace and cheap to buy, so do not attempt to clean out the spark plug. You should sharpen the mower blades as this will give your lawn a better cut. Clean off the blades after each use to prolong the life of your lawn mower and to keep it in good working condition.

Hedge-Trimmers, Weed-Whackers and Other Power Tools

Keep your power tools clean and well-oiled. Weed-whacker bottoms should be scraped off all detritus and the string changed when necessary.

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