Sat November 24, 2012
Garden Report

Packing Up Gardening Tools For Winter

As winter approaches, it’s time to begin putting away your gardening tools. KUNC Gardener Tom Throgmorton says taking extra care with your tools now can make for an easy return to gardening in the spring.

This time of year take care of the things that really make the garden happen, the tools. It’s also a good time of year to tune up tools for the coming season.

I always have hopes of getting the kids involved in this process. The kids could help get tool handles ready for next season. They could go over the handles with medium grade sandpaper. Hold the tool in a vice so it doesn’t get away from them. They could sand with the grain in the wood until the handle is smooth.

Once sanded, the kids could treat the handle with a wood sealer like linseed. Better yet, they could paint the tools. Let the kids be creative with their designs. Use bright colored exterior paint. You may be the first one on your block with a rainbow-striped rake. 

Digging tools need to be sharpened .The better the edge, the easier the digging. If a tool isn’t too worn, you can follow the factory angle of the edge. Fix the tool in a vice. Yes, all gardeners should have a vice. The old fashioned way is to use a file to sharpen the tool blade. You can also use a hand held grinder. Grinders are quicker, noisier and easy to get carried away with. You can over sharpen a tool. Which is almost as bad as a dull tool.

Pruning tools also need to be sharpened.This should be regular pruner maintenance, not just a once a year exercise. Each type of pruning shear has its own blade bevel. If the pruner is exceptionally dull begin with a file and then a finer honing stone. I use a medium and then a fine grade honing tool I found at a cutlery store to keep sharp shears.

Don’t forget you power tools. Put a fuel stabilizer in with the gas. Run the engine to get the stabilizer through to protect the interior parts. Then drain the rest of the fuel for the winter.

Remove the oil on mowers, blowers and trimmers. Remember to put oil back in next spring.  Sharpen power tool blades. If you’re not keen on doing it yourself, take the machines into a qualified repair and tune-up place.

Take the time to take care of your tools. Then your tools will take care of you.


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