Monday, November 24, 2014

Basic Garden Tool Care

As the garden season for this year winds down at Mother Hubbard's, we begin to think of what we can do to prepare for next year's growing season. Among the many steps we take to overwinter the garden and organize for the new year, caring for our much-used garden tools becomes a priority. This simple process is great for a number of reasons! For one, tools can be expensive, and cleaning and sharpening them extends their life, cutting would-be costs of replacement tools. Additionally, sharp tools are far more efficient in the garden, lessening the time and effort of tasks like digging and mulching.  At Mother Hubbard's, we follow these simple rules to take care of our tools and prep them for the coming garden season:

1. Clean the tool by using a brush or steel wool to remove dirt and other substances. This helps prevent disease spread and keeps tools looking new. If a tool has multiple parts, it should be taken apart before cleaning.

2. Sharpen with a flat file. First, find the beveled edge of the blade of your tool. Stabilize the tool. Then, align the file with the bevel, and move the file along the blade in a single direction, away from your body. Repeat this process until the desired sharpness is acquired.

3. To remove any hanging metal pieces or burrs, place the file flat against the back side of the blade, and sweep the file once across.

4. Lubricate with linseed oil to protect against rust.

5. Reassemble any multipart tools, and you are done!

Good tool care is as simple as that!

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