Fall is coming to a close. Instead of the nice chilly weather that we’re used to it’s now time for vicious winds, cold temperatures, and even snow.
Now is the time to winterize all your tools so that when spring rolls around, you can immediately get started on your garden.
If you are struggling with getting started, and don’t know where to look read my easy-to-follow winterizing guide.
Help ensure that your tools have the longest possible life and remain in the best shape by the time it is spring by following the guide below.
The first thing you want to do is remove any of the rust that has formed. You can do this by using a file or some sandpaper.
To restore chipped paint, use spray paint. This will not only help with chipped paint but also help prevent any exposed steel from rusting.
Once the color is taken care of it’s time to grease the wheel. No one likes to hear the wheel squeaking all day while we are working.
Greasing the wheel will stop the squeaking.
Oil the handles with a wax paste. This helps prevents splintering. Once this is done, make sure all of the nuts and screws are tightened properly.
After you have winterized the wheelbarrow place it in your garage so it’s in a dry environment.
If you have a plastic wheelbarrow then you won’t need to worry about most of this. Just make sure everything is in place and give the wheelbarrow a good cleaning. You only need some soap and water to clean the plastic so this shouldn’t take too much time.
While cleaning, make sure there aren’t any cracks. Since plastic isn’t as strong as steel, plastic wheelbarrows are more prone to cracking and breaking than steel wheelbarrows.
Digging Spade and other handheld tools
All of the dirt accumulated on the blade and handle needs to be removed. Once the spade is clean, sharpen the blade using a whetstone. This will keep the blade sharp.
Working in a garden is much easier with a sharp blade versus a dull blade.
To properly sharpen, start from the outer edge and work towards the center while holding the spade at a 45-degree angle.
Rubbing oil on the metal parts of the spade will stop rusting from forming which is crucial to increasing the life span of your tools. Once this is done, hang the spade somewhere it’s easy to see.
Winterizing trowels and other handheld tools is done the same way. Just clean it, put it in a bucket of sand soaked in oil to stop rusting, and then store it away. I like to rub on some oil everyone once in a while just to make sure the tools don’t rust. This isn’t necessary, it’s just an extra precaution.
Like spades, using shears that are dull will make working in a garden 10x harder. To kee[ the blades sharp and make clipping off branches easier, you need an oilstone.
Place the shears into a vise and run the oilstone in one direction until the blade is sharpened.
A honing tool can be just as effective. Like with the oilstone, place the shears into a vise and run the honing tool in one direction until the blade is sharpened.
If your shears have tree sap on them, use turpentine to remove the tree sap. Remove the sap as soon as you spit it because once tree sap hardens, it’s extremely difficult to remove. The earlier it’s spotted, the easier it will be to remove.
People may not think of gasoline as a garden tool but this is what a lot of your tools need in order to start. Gasoline should not be kept over the winter. Old gasoline is difficult to ignite which will make it harder to start your lawnmower and other tools that use gasoline.
Instead, save yourself some money and use that gas for your car. Simply grab a funnel and pour it into the tank.
Or try to use it before winter officially starts. This is only recommended if you have a little bit of gasoline left. If there is a lot left, it’s best to save money and give your car extra gas.
Or if you are feeling generous, you can give that extra gasoline to a friend who needs it. Maybe they just ran out of gasoline and you can save them a quick buck. Just don’t let the gasoline go to waste.
Water is one of the most important things your garden needs to survive and your hose supplies this.
Disconnect your hose from the water supply and drain it. Draining all the water stops freezing damage from taking place. It’s not only important to drain all the water from the inside, however.
You also need to make sure all of the water on the outside is gone as well.
Let the hose soak out in the sun or use a towel to wipe away any water. I like to do both just in case. When all the water is gone, coil up the hose into a 3-foot diameter.
Coiling the hose tightly for all of the winter will damage it.
Try to keep those hose in a dry area such as your garage. People sometimes make the mistake of leaving their hose out in the winter which is bad because when it rains, the water will freeze and damage the hose which was the main thing you were trying to prevent in the first place.
If you have nowhere to store it in your garage, buy a cover for the hose to keep it when it’s protected outside or simply leave it in your house. Make sure the cover is thick enough to not let water through it when it’s raining.
Clean the hoe with water and soap to remove any dirt.
Have it laying on a table to keep it more steady while you are scrubbing it down. If it has a wooden handle, paint it with boiled linseed oil. This stops cracking, drying, and weathering of the handle.
Properly hang the hoe to make sure no one gets injured. If it were to fall off, the edges can cause injury. Have the pointed ends pointed towards the ceiling.
You never want the sharp edges near the ground as you can cut your leg. This applies to all tools. Never have the sharp ends facing you or a path you will be walking by.
Extra precaution needs to be taken with this. Use thick gardening gloves for extra protection while cleaning.
In order to clean the saw, you will need vegetable shortening, water, and cleansing powder. The vegetable shortening is just soybean oil, citric acid, cottonseed oil mixed with some water.
Grab a cloth and dip it into the vegetable shortening and water. Then slowly and carefully clean the blades. After you’re done doing that, let the saw sit for around 10-15 minutes.
When that is over, put a little bit of the cleansing powder over the blades and handle.
It’s recommended to not sharpen the blades by yourself. You can take it to a store and have a professional handle it for you at a cheap price.
If you feel like you can do it on your own then you will need a Cant file. T
he triangular cross-section is what’s needed to properly sharpen the saw.
Clamp the saw into a vise and use the file starting from the rear of the saw and going towards the tip at a 30-degree angle.
Do every other tooth of the saw. Once you have finished, clean your saw again and rub a little bit of oil on to finish it off.
Winterizing your lawnmower can be a long process, but it’s essential if you want to the grass looking good when spring arrives.
You will need to remove the fuel, battery, and spark plugs.
Once removed, you need to replace the oil, clean the filter, sharpen the blades, scrape the mowing deck, clean and lube the entire lawnmower.
Finally, store the lawnmower into your garage underneath a tarp to keep off dust.
Where to store all of your tools
Not properly storing your tools is almost as bad as not winterizing your tools.
This is because, without proper storage, your tools can sustain damage after you worked so hard to make sure that didn’t happen.
The storage area needs to be somewhere dry and clean like your garage. This is the best place to store everything as it will all be in one place as well as be protected from the harsh weather conditions.
Have your tools organized if you haven’t organized them already. This can make it easier to find tools you are looking for come spring.
How you choose to organize the tools is up to you. You can organize by size or alphabetical order, etc.
Choosing what works best for you is the best option.