Every summer, for as long as I can remember, my mother has planted a vegetable garden. Even when we lived in Southern California and there wasn’t a lot of room to plant, my mother always had a garden plot in our local community garden. Every Saturday she would drag us kids to weed and water the garden, something we definitely did not appreciate back then. I wish I could turn back time and experience that all over again, because this time I would definitely enjoy it more! :-)
Where I live now we have plenty of room for a vegetable garden and my husband and I ATTEMPT one each summer. My daughter Britta, however, lives in an apartment and is continuing the community gardening tradition started by her grandmother. Today’s she’s sharing how she recently got her tools back in shape for her second ever year of gardening!
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When I graduated from college last May, my aunt JoAnn gave me an amazing graduation present: my very own garden plot in the community garden she manages. It was my first experience planting and maintaining a garden, and gardening quickly became one of my very favorite hobbies! I spent at least an hour a day up at the community garden over the summer, tending to my plants, hunting down snails, and pestering poor JoAnn with my endless stream of questions.
When summer started winding down and my plants began to whither, I was devastated. I was not ready to give up my time in the garden yet! But nature continued to run it’s course, so I bitterly left the garden for good sometime in October. Unfortunately, in my anguish over leaving the garden, I somehow forgot to bring my bucket of garden tools back home with me.
This is what my garden tools looked like after spending an entire winter outdoors:
Those are some rusty, dirty tools. With spring quickly approaching, I was determined to get my tools back in tip-top shape for planting! Luckily, it didn’t take much effort at all to get my tools looking close to new again!
Here are the supplies I used:
- Protective gloves. You don’t want to risk cutting yourself with rusty tools!
- Microfiber cloths
- Magic eraser
- Mill file
- Adjustable wrench
- Scrubbing pad.
The first thing I did was give everything a good wipe-down with a wet microfiber cloth. I used the magic eraser on some of the more stubborn dirt spots. That alone helped immensely, as you can see!
Next, I sprayed some WD-40 on the rusty parts and scrubbed them with the scrubbing pad. This combination removed nearly all of the surface rust on my trowel, but the shears definitely needed some extra help.
I used Barkeeper’s Friend with the scrubbing pad on my extra rusty shears, and I was amazed at how well it worked! Granted, it didn’t get my shears COMPLETELY clean, but they sure looked better than I thought they would!
To remove stubborn substances like sap, rubbing just a few drops of lemon essential oil will do wonders.
After all the tools were clean, I wanted to make sure that they were sharp! I used an 8-inch mill file along the blade of my shears. If you’ve got shears like these, you only need to sharpen the big blade on top, not the thin arm on the bottom.
Once the blade was sharp, I used my adjustable wrench to make sure that the nut was tight. Obviously you don’t want to tighten it to the point that they won’t close, but you don’t want the nut to be to loose either.
The last step was to lubricate the shears with the WD-40. I ended up wiping down all of my tools with a light coat of WD-40, in order to prevent further rusting.
That’s all there is to it! After taking these steps, your tools will be ready to serve you well throughout the gardening season. My parting advice is this: store your tools properly, so you don’t have to do any of this!! Wipe your tools down after using them, and store them in a dry place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say! :-)
Tell us how YOUR garden grows?