Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Tool attention
As a cold wind blows… it’s time to turn to our garden tools. They’ve likely had a workout this year between gardening and storm clean up! They could use a little TLC…
Every year I intend on putting neon tape on my tools so I can spot them when I get distracted to take a phone call or wander off to another project and nearly every year I still manage to lose a tool or two through the season.
Once you’ve collected your equipment, hose off any chunks of dirt. Clay is a particular bear, you may need to use a heavy bristled brush. In a perfect world you’d be cleaning your tools after each use. Once the initial dirt is cleaned up, it’s time to take some steel wool to the rusty parts.
If the rust has really taken over, use a steel brush first. For pruners, axes and knives that may have some sap on them, use just a little paint thinner on a cotton cloth to clean up the gummy stuff. Be sure to wipe all your tools dry. Then apply a coat of oil. One recommendation is to thin a quart of motor oil with a pint of kerosene and apply a thin layer of this mixture with a clean cotton cloth. This isn’t enough oil to cause the E-P-A to hunt you down but if that bothers you, use a vegetable base oil. As you can see I’ve used LPS.
I HAVE made a concerted effort this year to clean my tools each time I use them and then plunge them in a bucket of sand and vegetable oil a few times.
The abrasive quality of the sand helps further cleaning and the oil leaves a light coat on the tools. I’ve also sprayed my tools with Pam and they were just fine.