Gardening tools that get results...that’s the goal of every gardener and homeowner who has ever entered a Home Depot or home convenience store hoping to beautify their backyard. We look for tools and tricks to fuel our passion or alleviate the annoyances of our outdoor chores (however you look at it). Either way, easier is better.
And every craftsman (yes, gardeners and homeowners are craftsmen of a creatively natural nature) knows, the right tools can make all the difference. This of course is not to say Picasso with a poor pencil or Tiger Woods with a shabby putter would be anything resembling average, but tools that perform make their (and our) lives and loves easier and infinitely more successful.
It is this drive to outdoors, the freeing, natural love of gardening, landscaping and enjoying our good green Earth that drives us gardeners to our hands and knees, day in and day out, tending to our little pieces of paradise. It’s also this that drives us here at Planted Perfect. Gardening should be easy and enjoyable, just you, your yard and tending the trees and shrubs... not cumbersome and clunky with ineffective, often damaging equipment. Part of the love of getting out and gardening is the ease and carefree nature and keeping your tools primed for performance makes enjoying your yard easier and more fun. So you know what, today let’s talk garden tool storage and maintenance and make sure your tools of the trade are ALWAYS ready to rock.
Gardening’s An Investment
Many people are convinced time is money. While I’m not, as gardeners our investment into our gardens is certainly something to be admired. We devote countless hours throughout the year pruning and perfecting every species of incredible plant life our yards and gardens can contain. Days past under the sun and mornings fade into evenings as our love consumes (or enjoyably occupies) hours upon hours of our days, huge portions of our lives.
Yet all this effort, all of this hard work is inevitably rewarded. The price is truly the prize, the time spent gardening keeps us happier and healthier than any expensive doctor or miracle pill and makes our yards magnificent. Our cultivations create true “wealth” and beauty in the world and brightens everyone’s days.
And outside of time, gardening’s a rather inexpensive hobby. Our small, easily manageable investments into our passion, tools, plants, seeds...these are but a small price to pay for the hours of enjoyment (plus the inevitable envy :) our gardens bring us.
That said, typically the easiest and least expensive route to really great gardening is often the most expensive. Buying saplings versus starting from seeds, finding flowers to transplant instead of beginning anew, high quality, reliable tools that last season after...The best is often cheaper and more enjoyable in the love run, that’s our goal with long lasting Planted Perfect products - value, reliability and of course incredible performance :)
Cleaning Garden Tools
Whether you invest in quality, dependable tools or desire a slightly less expensive, less reliable set of gardening gear, you want to get the most out of your money. For this, it’s important to take care of your yard tools to enjoy them as long as possible.
The biggest issue most homeowners face is cleaning. Face it, when was the last time you finished a long, relaxing day of yard work and were EXCITED about cleaning your garden tools? Probably never!
Unfortunately cleaning isn’t just for aesthetics. While it seems trivial, cleaning, wiping down and maintaining your tools can make ALL the difference in the reliability and clean cuts of your pruning shears and saws (for more information on proper pruner maintenance and sharpening, see this in-depth guide).
Garden Hand Tools
Luckily for gardeners, the easiest to clean tools are also those you use most regularly. From garden shears to pruning snips, saws, sickles and hoes, the smaller, more manual gardening tools are fast and easy to take care of. Even after a downright dirty day gardening, most pruners and saws will survive (and thrive) with a rag wipe down. To be extra careful and maximize the performance and lifespan of your metal tools though (non-stainless of course), it’s important to lubricate and oil regularly to prevent rust and other damaging buildups. WD-40 or other oil and anti-rust rubs can be applied after washing (with soap) and will help guard your gear from the corrosive forces of evil all outdoor enthusiasts loathe.
Protecting Power Tools
The more complicated the tool, the harder it is to clean and maintain and more likely for issues to occur. Because power tools are inherently complex and need electricity and proper wiring to work, it’s important to pay special attention to things like leaf blowers, weed wackers and electric screwdrivers to keep your more expensive outdoor equipment running strong.
First things first though, before even beginning to clean it’s important to unplug...you only make that mistake once (trust me). Once your tools are safely unplugged they can be taken apart or lubricated as needed. Machine oil works for most outdoor power tools but if you are unsure or it’s an especially expensive piece of machinery it might make sense to read the manual and explore Google. Performance equipment pays for itself (if it doesn’t break of course :)
How to Store Garden Tools
If cleaning’s important, storage is equally so in ensuring your gardening gear lasts. Nothing derails a drill or dulls a saw faster than improper storage. Conversely though, nothing will help spur your garden passion and protect your precious tools better than simply storing them properly so keep that in mind.
The 4 Rules of Ruggedly Reliable Garden Tools
1. Dampness destroys tools
Heat and humidity and a nice wet environment are the enemy of anything steel (or metal). And because most gardening tools are made almost exclusively of high carbon steel, dry storage is a necessity to prevent rust.
Hot, humid climates can be devastating. If you’re sweating up a storm when you walk outside or your garage isn’t ideal or temperature-controlled, it may make sense to invest in a dehumidifier (or store your tools elsewhere). The moisture in the air will quickly corrode all but stainless steel and even stainless suffers somewhat from excessive dampness and warmth.
2. For power tools, keep the cases
While it may be too late for some, usually when you invest in a new power tool it pays to the keep the case. Storing your tools in hard, impact resistant cases drastically cuts down on humidity issues and protects your tools from accidental damage. Plus cases are pretty convenient for transportation.
3. Hanging your tools isn’t just a design thing
There are two awesome reasons to build your own tool board (pegboard) to hold your gardening supplies. The first of course is saving space. Laying tons of tools on a bench of having them spread out across the shelves of your shed not only take up a ton of room but makes the right tool tough to find. It’s much too easy to misplace important tools and will cost more money and time in the long run by far.
Hanging your tools is double worth it though as this guards against rust as well. Moisture tends to pool on floors and flat surfaces (especially after a good rain) and hooking your pruners, saws and snips to the wall will work wonders in guarding your gear ....plus it just looks cool - and keeps your garage or shed a bit less hectic.
4. Anti-rust extras
Silica gel packs, those little packets that come in your shoes and certain types of super-processed, extremely long lasting junk foods actually are pretty useful for the average gardener. These little desiccant packs help prevent moisture (and stinky shoes) and keep outdoor steel tools safer from the clutches of rust. If you’re storing your stuff in tool boxes or drawers, adding a silica gel pack to each compartment is a great way to protect the performance and reliability of your garden gear year round without having to worry AS much about rust. In hot climates, silica gel packs become less effective so be warned but it can’t hurt and almost always helps gardeners get the most of our their tools. Try it out.
Storing Your Garden Tools Throughout the Winter
The last really important thing to consider when long lasting, reliable garden tools is a MUST is winter storage. For most of the country (and world), winter represents a long and often harsh time where gardens are abandoned, beautiful greenery goes dormant and gardeners are forced indoors in pursuit of warmth.
Because the seasons are a changing and your garden tools are likely to receive a lot less love and care, it’s important to store and properly take care of your tools....imagine opening the shed to find your gardening equipment ruined, talk about terrible. Here’s how we prevent that and ensure come spring you’re ready to rock with your garden!
1. Clean your dirty tools WELL
We covered it before, we’ll say it again, clean lives and lasts so wash, rinse and scrub down any grime. Use warm, foamy soap water as needed.
2. Sharpen your tools
Sharp tools survive better. The cleaner and sharper your pruning tools, the better. Plus sharpening now means less waiting to get started gardening onc plants are prime for pruning and care!
3. Remove rust
Rust is the enemy, we MUST eradicate it. Especially as winter arrives, because if left unchecked, rust could easily consume and destroy your tools. To remove the rust after cleaning, coat the metal in a lubricating oil (like vegetable) and use steel wool or sandpaper to systematically rub the rust out. This may take some time but once removed, your tools are safe.
4. Lubricate and guard
Anti-rust oil is friend of gardeners everywhere and helps keep cutters and pruners prime. Over the winter or extended periods of inactivity (for your tools), it is smart to coat the surfaces with WD-40, your armor against unwanted rust. You can pick up a can at just about any home improvement store.
5. Sand storage
Ever seen buckets of sand standing around a garage and wondered why? Well in addition to its ability to smother fire, sand is also a great at preventing rust. Many gardeners store tools over long winters in a small bucket of sand soaked in oil and sleep easy at night knowing their tools are in trusty hands.
6. Power tool protocol for winter
The more complex the tool or piece of gardening equipment, the more challenging it is to take care of. Lawn mowers for instance should be drained of gasoline and residue, leaf blowers reboxed and rolled up, and major tools lubricated and sharpened, all before storing for the winter. Removing oil and gas will help prevent buildup or clogging and ensure come spring your mower’s ready to raise the standard and Yard of the Month magnificence of your yard.