Susan Pynchon: Tips to extend life of garden tools

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Tips to extend life of garden tools

It’s planting time here in western Massachusetts, and many backyard gardeners are preoccupied with seeds, soil and sunshine.

Amid the decisions about which annuals to plant or the best cherry tomatoes to try lies an important decision about tools — toss and buy new, or make do? If you’re like me, you’re not the best at maintaining tools through the year and are tempted to toss and replace each spring.

Good tools are essential for successful gardens. All too often however, good tools are thrown out rather than repaired and maintained. Consider these easy steps to extending the life of your garden tools. 1) tie brightly colored yarn, fabric or plastic tape on the end of your hand tools. This makes it easier to spot the tool in the soil so it can be retrieved at the end of the day and returned to the shed for safekeeping and protection from weather. 2) Soak rusty tools in baking soda with a little water followed by a vinegar rinse to make your tools shine. 3) Purchase an inexpensive filing knife to keep your clipper and pruner edges sharp. 4) A few drops of mineral oil on the hinges and springs of your cutting tools will keep the actions working and spare your hands.

These are just a few ideas for keeping your tools in good working order. No need to throw a tool out simply because it shows rust or doesn’t cut like it used to. With a little TLC they will last a lifetime and never see the inside of a landfill.

Susan Pynchon