Spring into gardening by prepping your tools
Happy first day of spring! We know you’ve been counting the days until that fluffy white stuff melts away so you can plunge your hands into the dirt, but until then, there are plenty of chores you can get started on to kick off gardening season. Remember those tools you just tossed into the greenhouse/shed/corner of your garage last fall? Yup, you probably should have given everything a thorough cleaning before putting them away, but don’t worry! Getting your tools and storage areas in tip-top shape now will make all your spring chores easier.
Air out your space
Empty everything out, give the floors and benches a good sweep, and clear away any cobwebs or dead leaves hanging about. If you have a greenhouse, scrub and disinfect the windows to get rid of any insects that may have made a happy home in the corners! Wash seed trays and pots while you’re at it.
Clean up last fall’s messy leftovers
Find any crusty gardening tools? Hose them off, and then clean them thoroughly with soapy water to prevent the spread of disease. Scrape off extra dirt and rust on your spades, hoes and shovels with a stiff wire brush or plastic scraper. For sticky sap, try vinegar on a rag. Be sure to dry everything off completely. Wooden handles looking dry and cracked? Rub some linseed oil on them.
If the blades of your shears, loppers and pruners are looking rusty and worn, you can sharpen them yourself or treat them to a professional sharpening so they’ll cut plants cleanly, which helps them heal more quickly. Spades and hoes perform better on turf and roots when they’re extra-sharp. Once your tools are super-sharp, a thin coat of oil or grease will help prevent rust build-up.
Do you have the right tools for the job – whether it’s cultivating your soil, digging up weeds or planting bulbs? Now’s a great time to explore pre-season sales at local garden centers.
Surprises in your gardening tote?
Toss broken plant markers, gloves with too many holes in them, and crumpled seed packets. Shake out any leftover dirt and yes, dead insects. If you can, throw the bag into the washing machine for good measure.
Oil up the wheels, tighten any bearings that seem wobbly, and brush dirt and debris out of all the nooks and crannies.
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