Methods for maintaining garden tools

October 9, 2015

Keeping your garden looking and performing its best is a lot easier with well-kept and easily accessible tools. Here are three methods for properly maintaining and organizing your garden tools.

Methods for maintaining garden tools

1. Spritz your tools to repel dirt

  • The secret weapon against messy tools is the cooking oil spray you keep in the kitchen cabinet. Spray a coat on a shovel or trowel before using it and clay soil will slide right off. Spray the blades and underside of your lawn mower and wet grass won't stick to them
  • Sand is another trick for clean tools. Keep a bucket of it in the garage or shed and plunge a spade or hoe into the sand before putting it away. The sand will scrape off any dirt or other mess that has stuck to the blades

2. Make tools easy to spot

  • Don't lose your tools among your flower beds, shrubs and grass. Exposure to the weather could harm them, and they could pose a danger to passers-by as well
  • To keep your hand tools from disappearing, paint the handles bright red or orange, making them more visible, a trick dating back to at least the 19th century. A couple of wraps of bright electrical tape will serve the same purpose

3. Make a simple tool stand between garage studs

Before investing in a high-priced rack for your garden tools in a shed or garage, look at the walls: if the walls are framed with exposed 2 x 4 studs, anyone can build a stand for garden tools in a matter of minutes. All you need is some 1 x 4 pine, some scraps of old 2 x 4 and some nails.

  • For long-handled tools — such as shovels and rakes — cut a length of 1 x 4 so that it spans a couple of studs and nail it into place about 90 centimetres (36 inches) above the floor
  • For shorter-handled tools — an axe, for instance — nail another length of 1x 4 between two studs about 60 centimetres (24 inches) above the floor
  • For both sets of tools, nail another 1 x 4 across the bottom of the studs to form a foot piece that will keep the lower end of your tools from sliding out
  • Finally, to help keep the tools upright, cut short blocks of 2 x 4 as spacers and nail them between the 1x 4s and the garage wall at both the top and bottom. Two blocks in each cavity between studs usually works fine

Voilà! Slide your hoe or rake behind the 1 x 4s, handle first, and it will be held in place for quick access.

With well-maintained tools in reach, caring for your garden will be a much more effective (and much less frustrating) task.

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