As the weather gets colder and perhaps you are spending longer indoors than the all-day-outside days this summer, what better time to make sure your tools are in good shape?
Fosseway has put together a general maintenance checklist so that you can keep everything in good condition, and make them last over the winter.
#1 – Taking Inventory of Your Tools
It’s important to have a stocked shed or garage that’s full of the tools you need – part of maintenance is ensuring you are fully equipped! Autumn is a big opportunity for garden clean-up, from clearing leaves, to cutting logs and woody waste away, to giving everything a final pruning.
Here is a list of tools that every gardener should have access to, from tools to heavier garden machinery. Fosseway carries a high-quality selection of everything below, so do drop by before autumn progresses.
- Garden trowel + hand fork
- Garden fork/pitchfork
- Spring-tined rake
- Watering can
- Hosereel and attachments
- Kneelers, gloves, and other protective gear
And heavier equipment:
- Hedge trimmer
- Lawn mower/tractor
- Pressure washer
#2 – Keeping Your Tools Ready To Use
General tool ‘hygiene’ is key for any aspiring (or professional!) gardener. Caring for them is almost as important as caring for your garden! Here are some steps you can take:
- Scrape excess dirt off your tools after each use. If it is good soil, you can keep it in a separate pot and use it to top up your plants in the next seasons.
- Give your tools a thorough clean. For hand tools, you should use a disinfectant like Citrox – this will also kill any diseases on the tools, and prevent them spreading around the garden. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes, then wipe it off. Wear gloves.
- Oil your metal tools. Applying a thin layer of Boiled Linseed Oil will prevent oxygenation of the iron metal, reducing the chance of rust. Coconut or walnut oil also works well. You can use it on both the wooden and the metal parts of your tools.
- Remove rust. While stainless steel of modern tools is less likely to rust, your tools are still at risk. Small amounts of rust can be removed without causing too much damage. All you need is soapy water, and a wire brush or sandpaper. Dry with an old towel afterwards.
- Repair any broken tools (if possible). Handles that have snapped off can usually be replaced, although if the break is not even, we recommend buying a replacement as the splinters can be dangerous.
- Sand and sharpen your tools. Metal blades will need sharpening, and if you have a flat file, a vise (to hold it in place), and eye protection, you can begin to sharpen them. *This is best done in spring, though it can also be done in autumn.
Fosseway also offers servicing for all types of garden machinery. If your chainsaw chains need sharpening, or a piece of equipment needs any kind of repair, you can head over to our Garden Machinery page to fill in a servicing quotation – or find us in-store.
#3 – Putting Away Your Tools – The Right Way
Stowing your tools for long periods can damage them if you are not careful. Especially if it is long-term, your tools need to be put someplace dry and out of the way:
- Hang your garden tools up. By fixing nails into the wall (or pegboard) you can hang most tools by the handles. This way they will rust less easily, and won’t get as blunted.
- Give each tool its own space. A handy tip is to trace your tool in pencil where it should hang on the wall – this way, they won’t crowd and you will have a regular place for each tool.
- Get shelving and boxes to put away hand tools. A sand bucket also works well.
‘Together We Can Grow’
With planning and some time set aside this autumn to check everything over, you can save yourself time and money come spring. We hope this list can remind you to keep your tools in good nick, and that it will keep you feeling organised and motivated every time you want to garden!