How to get your gardening tools ready for summer

An ideal time for taking care of gardening and yard tools is during winter. After all, yard maintenance in the winter generally means just shovelling your walk. But who wants to spend time out in the cold taking care of shovels, mowers, and pruners?

As the weather warms up and the sun stays out longer, early spring is also a good time for tool maintenance. Here are 5 tips for getting your gardening tools ready for summer.

1. Tune your mower

If you have a gas mower, replace the spark plug and oil and clean the filter. If your mower is electric, check the cord for cuts and make sure the switch works. For all mowers, replace or sharpen the blades and clear away any old grass clippings.

2. Clean your digging tools

Clean all the leftover dirt and debris from your shovels, spades, and hoes. Usually just a wire brush does the trick, but if you clean them with water, let them dry completely before returning them to your tool shed.

Once they’re clean, wipe them with an old rag that has been oiled or that has been sprayed with WD-40. Take care of rust buildup by soaking your tools in a vinegar bath for several hours to loosen the rest, and then manually brush off the rust.

Remember to check the handles for splinters. You can eliminate the splinters with a light sanding and rubbing the wood with linseed oil.

3. Clean your pruning tools

If you didn’t clean your pruning tools in the fall, do so now. Don’t forget to sharpen and oil them, too.

4. Clean hand tools

Make sure shovels, hoes, and rakes are dirt-free. Once clean, scrub off any rust, then wipe them with an oiled rag.

5. Sterilize pots

To make sure your planting pots are mould and fungus free, scrub them with a pot-scrubbing brush, then soak in a 10% bleach solution for 10 minutes. Rinse the pots to remove the bleach and let them dry before using.

Keeping your tools clean and in good shape will not only help them last longer, but it can help keep you safe, too, by making sure they always function properly.

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