As a wet cold Autumn seems to have arrived in the UK (uninvited), I think that now is the time to think about preserving unused tools over the Winter period.
You will undoubtedly still need to do some pruning, raking and maybe the last couple of mows of the year, but a number of your tools may now sit in the shed for a few long, cold months.
Cleaning mud and grime off gardening tools and then giving them a wipe over with an oily rag (including wooden handles) will help reduce the chance of damp damaging the tools over Winter.
Now is also a good time to think about sharpening all your shears, secateurs, pruners, scissors and loppers. Sharp, clean blades not only make future cutting easier, but also help reduce the risk of diseases spreading between your plants. A good quality sharpening stone will be expensive, but makes the job much easier and should last many years with correct use. If you are unsure of how to use a sharpening stone then Multi-Sharp products offer easy-to-use solutions to sharpening most garden tools.
Power tools with petrol engines such as lawnmowers, chainsaws, hedge trimmers and brush cutters will benefit from having their fuel tanks fully emptied before being put away for Winter. Drain all the fuel into a spare can and then start the motor until it runs dry, but remember to use new petrol in the new year! All garden power tools will also benefit from being thoroughly cleaned as chemicals, sap and dirt will corrode the working parts.
Looking after your gardening tools will mean less breakages, a longer life and better performance for your tools in 2009.
Please remember when sharpening all your tools to wear gloves and eye protection, so I don’t have to advise on First Aid as well as tool aid!
Useful products for cleaning and sharpening tools can be found at: www.qualitygardentools.com/gardening-accessories/imgview
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