Everything in life has a time and season, and that is especially true with our beloved gardens. All of the work, and rewards, or a productive home garden and its bountiful harvest must come to an end, and that means storing your garden tools for the winter season.
In order to have your tools and equipment in good condition and ready to get to work next spring, every gardeners and landscaper should make sure to follow some simple tips, tricks, and advice for storing their equipment over the winter.
First, let’s discuss hand tools. If you have been diligent in giving your shovels, rakes, small trowels, etc a good rinsing after each use throughout the growing and harvesting seasons then there will be relatively little maintenance required to store them for winter. However, if they do have some lingering mud, debris, and/or rust on them, you should make sure to give them a good scrub with some water and stiff-bristled brush.
If there are any lingering rust spots a quick scrub with some steel wool should help to remove them. Additionally, any small hand tools that you use for cutting or digging should be sharpened, and any nicks or deformities in the blade should be filed and removed. If you are not sure how to sharpened your tools most local home and garden centers either provide that service, or can give you some information on where to get it done. Finally, inspect any wooden handles for cracks and splinters and replace as needed.
Second, bigger powered equipment such as lawn mowers and trimmers. There are a couple of things that every powered piece of equipment will benefit from when getting stored for the winter. Ensure that all of the fuel has been drained from the engine and the tank. Letting the fuel sit in the machine can erode plastic parts, gaskets, and valves.
It is also a good idea to disconnect the battery and spark plugs for added safety and long term use. If the equipment has blades, just as with the small hand tools, they should be inspected and sharpened. Finally, give the entire body of the equipment a good washing, making sure that everything is dry and clean before storing.
Third, garden hoses require some seasonal attention as well. All hoses should be completely drained of any standing water, and cracks or small leaks should be mended, the ends can be replaced if needed, and the entire hose should be coiled for storage to avoid any permanent kinks in it when you get it back out in the spring.