AS THE TOOLS YOU USE
Hooray! Spring has finally arrived and it feels well over due! The nights are getting lighter, mornings are brighter and those frosty windscreens are becoming a distant memory. Daffodils are sprouting up everywhere and are like a green light for those with a green thumb.
Yes, many of you gardeners will be ready to dig up those borders, trim the hedges, wage war on weeds and plant some seeds! It goes without saying that your garden needs a lot of care and attention for it to flourish. Your tools need a lot of care and attention too.
If you just shoved them in the shed to gather cobwebs and they’re still covered in soil, then chances are you’ll need to give them some tender loving care before you start grooming the garden. Rusty secateurs won’t be much use and a blunt spade will make the workload harder. The better condition that your tools are in, the safer and easier the job will become. Even your power tools will need an inspection.
Prepare to arm yourself with your trusty trowel then go full samurai with the secateurs. Spring is upon us and your garden is waiting. But first, take some time to read the following hints and tips to keep those tools looking fresh and in tip top shape to dig out the weeds of winter and plant the seeds of summer.
– Audrey Hepburn
You Have The Power...Tools
- Check cables for damage and kinks. If you see any bare cable then don’t connect to the power until it’s fixed; you wouldn’t want any nasty shocks.
- Don’t forget to check the plug itself for any damage or for any exposed cable.
- Give the blades a good going over with a wire brush to remove any rust or grime from last year. Offer a light coat of boiled linseed oil to keep them in good nick, especially hedge trimmers.
- If needed, you can sharpen the blades with a metal file or a sharpening stone and oil. The sharper the blades, the better the cut, the nicer the look!
- Give a general inspection, if the blades are loose then get them tightened. Keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t look right.
- Turn the power on and give it a test run before you go all guns blazing. You should notice any irregularities this way and you’ll be ready to turn if off should anything sound out of the ordinary.
Those Hand Tools Are Handy!
You will need to keep your hand tools in good shape to make them last. Rust is the enemy of your beloved digging tools so you’ll need to keep a close eye on it! Keeping the handles in shape will help prolong their lifespan and prevent them from falling to pieces. Not forgetting the other benefit of keeping your tools clean…they look lovely.
- Sharpen any hand blades with a small metal file or a sharpening stone to make your job a lot easier! Do this every time you think they’re going blunt.
- Rust is the enemy: a wire brush should take care of any unwanted rust that will eventually corrode the metal and dramatically reduce the life of your tools. Wipe any excess moisture or mud away after use and rub a light layer of boiled linseed oil over any metal surfaces after each use to keep them in tip top shape and prevent rust from setting in.
- No-one like splinters! Boiled linseed oil will keep any wooden handles from splintering or cracking and keep them strong. Give them several coats, waiting for each coat to absorb into the wood.
A Shed To Be Proud Of
We’d all love a shed that would make Alan Titchmarsh blush, with more gardening gear than B&Q. The reality for most is a modest 8×10 foot wooden shed that can barely harbour your lawn mower. That’s not to say that you can’t utilise that space to maximise storage capacity.
Tidiness is the main ingredient when storing things away so be sure to get that shed in order! Most hand tools come with a rope on the handle, which makes them perfect for hanging rather than scattered on the floor or dumped in a bucked. Give everything a place as it’s easier to find, for there’s nothing more frustrating than searching through the rubble to find what you need.
Keep the things in the shed down to a minimum. Don’t allow your shed to become a hoarding ground for packaging boxes, empty pots and bags of clothes that you keep meaning to take to the charity shop. If space is at a premium then a minimalistic look is essential! Keep the floor clutter free, hang up your tools and dispose of anything that you won’t use anymore!
Hang up spades, rakes and hoes to keep them neat and prevent them from falling over. More importantly, moisture can seep up from the floor, even if your shed is paved, and create rust. Remember: rust is the enemy and prevention is better than a cure.
Keep cables from your hedge trimmer, lawn mower and strimmer well coiled and off the floor to keep them in good condition and preventing trip hazards! You don’t want to get wrapped up in a web of cables. Look after your shed and give the outside a coat of weatherproof paint. Dare to add a dash of colour on there too. If you’re going to make the effort with the garden then don’t neglect your shed.
The added bonus of keeping fewer things in your shed is that you also limit hiding spaces for spiders, so you won’t get any horrific scares when you grab your gardening gloves!