Sharon R. Hill,
CHRISTIAN COUNTY — Gardening is in full swing, but many gardening tasks may have been overlooked. One of them is the cleaning and sharpening of tools. If you have trouble getting this spade into the ground or the trowels are a little dull, the tools may need to be cleaned and sharpened. Ideally, cleaning and sharpening of garden tools should be done after the gardening season before they are put away. But the maintenance of garden tools should also be carried out several times during the gardening season on a regular basis. Tools left dirty or rusty can start to dull and become harder to use, resulting in more effort to use.
Items needed to clean and sharpen tools are gloves, goggles, three-in-one oil, tool files or whetstones, rags, paper towels, WD-40, a some kind of disinfectant wipes, steel wool, a stiff scrubbing brush, soap and water. , a black permanent marker, and newspapers or something to protect the work area from dirt, rust, and oil that coats the edges of tools.
After taking protective measures for the eyes and hands, clean the tool by first scraping the dirt from the tool or washing it with soapy water and a soft cloth. A stiff brush may be needed for stubborn stains and steel wool for rust. Dry well. For tools that need to be sharpened, a tool file or whetstone may be needed. First completely coat the cutting edge of the tool on both sides with a black permanent marker. The marker disappears when the blade is sharpened at a right angle. Sharpen the blades with the file or stone at the same angle as on the tool. Little pressure is needed to sharpen tools, so take it easy. Some tools don’t have a sharp edge on both sides, like some pruners. Only sharpen the side with a bevel. Run a rag along the blade or fine sandpaper along the back of the blade to check for nicks and roughness. Do not run a finger along the blades to check the sharpness. WD-40 is a good lubricant for pruners, pruners and scissors and most pivot points on tools after cleaning. Be sure to clean the wooden handles thoroughly and apply a thin coat of oil or wax for long life.
When using tools on plants, shrubs, trees, or in vegetable gardens, be sure to wipe the blades with disinfectant wipes after each cut or before using them on the next plant. A fungus is easily transported from one plant to another unless the tools are disinfected between uses. It helps to clean tools after each use before storing them to prevent rusting. Store tools in a dry place. If properly maintained, the tools should last a long time. Happy gardening.