Gardening has become one of the most popular activities these days, as it is considered as a stress buster. It helps in relieving your day-to-day stress and also has significant health benefits. Ample of plants and trees provide you with fresh air and more oxygen that is beneficial for the health. But, to keep a garden fresh, it requires regular maintenance and cleaning.
If you have a garden in your backyard then you are likely to have some of the best gardening tools to keep it clean and fresh. But with garden maintenance, it’s also important to keep your gardening tools in top condition if you don’t want to spend a fortune on buying them again and again.
Best Tools To Use for Gardening
There are a number of tools available in the market to be used for gardening. But having the right tool for the job can take gardening from exhausting to downright relaxing. It doesn’t matter if you are new to gardening or simply wish to give the contents of your hardware shop an upgrade. Sometimes, it can be complicated choosing what implements you’ll really need to keep the garden straight and narrow. Below we have mentioned a list of best and most essential gardening tools that wouldn’t dig a hole in your bank balance.
- Garden Trowel: These are hand tools and considered as some of the most commonly used gardening tools. People often do a lot of digging in their garden with a hand trowel and it somehow makes them feel better for their back. The best gardening trowel is the one which has a comfortable handle with a well fitted blade that won’t lose after a period of time. The stainless steel garden trowel earns raves from users for being nearly indestructible, even after years of potting, planting and light digging. The gardening trowel is available in different sizes which can be used for more delicate tasks, such as weeding near delicate plants.
- Wheelbarrow: This tool is used to transport items from one place to another in a garden. A good barrow is strong, yet light enough to easily transport even when it is full. A wheelbarrow is usually made of galvanised and hard plastic which makes them more durable. In a wheelbarrow, there are two handles and one tire, which make it easier to handle and use.
- Shovel: The hand shovel is a durable and versatile tool which is effectively used in every gardening process. A shovel can also be used for heavy-duty tasks like moving large boulders, removing stumps and digging deep trenches.
- Hand Pruner: Hand pruner is the first choice of gardeners when it comes to cutting thicker branches. A hand pruner is also used for cutting back clumps of perennials, larger flowers, and scoring and slicing root balls before planting. Hand pruners usually have hardened steel blades, a forged aluminium handle and an adjustable alignment. The rubberised handle has shock-absorbing pads to keep the work comfortable.
- Dibber: It is considered as the most useful tool to make plant holes for seeds, bulbs and seedlings. Dibber comes in many varieties, such as oak timber dibbers, stainless steel dibbers, etc. The oak timber dibbers have calibrated rings to indicate depth and take the guesswork out of planting. The stainless steel dibber also does the same work, but it is more durable than oak timber dibbers.
- Digging Spade: A digging spade is always required in the garden and is often called as ‘border spade’ or a ‘ladies spade’. It has a smaller head, which makes digging easier, especially if you have a bad back. Spades are available in many varieties, but the stainless steel spades are considered as one of the best spade. Regular spades easily rust and the soil tends to stick to them, whereas a stainless steel spade stays smooth, thereby making digging easier. A high-quality spade can enable gardeners to cut through soil and roots better than a shovel because of the flat, straight and slightly sharpened blade.
- Hand Rake: A hand rake is a great tool for picking up piles of leaves and garden trash. It also helps in gently removing debris from under and around the plants without damaging its roots or crowns. It can also be used to level soil or to clear the ground.
- Stainless Digging Fork: A digging fork can be used for many purposes, such as turning and cultivating the unbroken soil, mixing amendments into the soil, breaking up clods, etc. The digging fork is particularly useful if you have a compost heap, also you can work it round in a circle with the handle. It is an excellent way of getting air into a compost heap if you don’t have the strength to fork great lumps of compost up in the air.
- Garden Knife: A garden knife is often used for cutting string, sticks and flowers, trimming fruit and vegetable plants and many other jobs. People, especially gardeners always carry a knife in their pocket or garden tug. There are many garden knives available in the market, but the Japanese digging knife is worth the slight splurge because of its durable stainless steel blade that slices through the soil with ease.
- Oscillating Hoe: It is a long-handled garden hoe with a swivel head. The long handle of oscillating hoe enables you to cultivate an entire raised bed from the same position and the swivel action head cuts on both the pooch and the draw stroke sharpening itself as it goes.
- Loppers: This tool helps you prune branches and suckers that are too thick for regular pruners. If you want loppers for your garden then look for long-handled types of loppers to reach tall branches with ease.
- Scissors: These are very commonly used tools in every garden and specially used to remove dead flowers, cutting soft-stemmed plants, such as herbs, pruning small or delicate plants. To make the cutting process easy look for a scissor with a spring action.
How To Keep These Gardening Tools In Top Condition?
Gardeners often invest a lot of money into gardening tools, but the tools will remain in good condition only if they are maintained properly. Gardening tools are meant to last for many seasons and with proper maintenance, you will not have to replace them for quite a long time. If you’ve got a set of gardening tools and want to keep them in top condition for a long time then follow these tips to maintain and store them.
Store The Tools Properly
The best way to protect and maintain the tools is to store them in a proper way. You can hang them on pegboards or maybe you can store them in plastic containers, bags or chests. You can also keep them in drawers or on the shelves in your workshop. The biggest enemy of tools is exposure to natural elements. Storing these tools outdoor can ruin the wooden handle and make them rough, crack, split warp and rot over time. So to avoid such harms, you can store them in sheds and garages. A shed is a tool’s best friend, as it can provide good storage and protect the tools from the effect of rain, sun or wind and allows it to dry, which reduces the risk of rusting. You can also store the tools in a waterproof tool storage unit out in the garden. Using these storing techniques can really expand the life of your gardening tools. Take the following tips into consideration for storing your gardening tools.
- Keep the Tools In Dry Place: Places such as garages, basements and other enclosed spaces often have humidity issues, especially if they are not heated or air-conditioned. So if you’re using such spaces to store the gardening tools then consider investing into a dehumidifier to keep the dampness down. Dehumidifiers are very inexpensive as compared to the investment in your gardening tools.
- Hang the Tools Properly: If you are storing the gardening tools inside a garage or basement, hang them properly so that they don’t rest on the floor. Moisture often creeps up from concrete floors.
- Store the Tools in Original Cases: The best way to store your power tools is to keep them in hard plastic cases that they usually come with, unless you have a climate-controlled workshop. Keeping the power tools in their original boxes not only protects them from humidity, but they are also protected in general.
- Use of Silica Gel or Rust Collector: The silica gel and dust collector are considered as one of the great solutions to keep the moisture at bay. Toss them in drawers or toolboxes and they can help keep the rust away. You can also use rust inhibitors or anti-rust liners for the same purpose.
Proper storing of gardening tools is very important to prolong their life. Rust is considered as the number one enemy when it comes to tools storage. So choose your storing place wisely.
Clean The Tools After Every Use
Gardening is all about working with soil, and soil holds moisture and encourages rust. So cleaning the tools after every use can really expand their lives. It can also stop the transfer of soil from one place to another while reducing the risk of soil-borne diseases. Cleaning the tools may be the last thing that you want to do after use, but it’s essential for keeping the tools in top condition. Below are some points which show how you can keep your gardening tools clean.
- Hand Tools: Cleaning the hand tools is the easiest thing; just wipe them with a rag after every use. If the tools get dirty, don’t be afraid to give them a good wash with soap and water. But make sure that you dry the tools well afterwards. For wooden handles cleaning, use a rag dampened with a little linseed oil.
- Garden Tools: These tools can also be cleaned the same way as hand tools. Just wash the tools after every use, then dry and oil them up if necessary. Some people prefer to keep a bucket of sand mixed with a bit of oil for a quick cleaning. You can also opt for this option, just stab the tools into the bucket a few times to clean and oil them at the same time. You can also use motor oil in the sand, but keep in mind that even a little bit of motor oil left on the tools can harm the garden soil. So it is recommend to stick with linseed oil to keep your gardening tools clean.
- Power Tools: Power tools are often a little risky to clean, so before cleaning them, make sure that the tool is unplugged. Next thing that you want to do is to get all the dust off. You can use an air compressor to clean the dust; it can be really helpful in removing the dust. After cleaning the dust, wipe the surface of the tool and lubricate the moving parts. Machine oil is the best choice to lubricate the moving parts of power tools.
Cleaning the toolboxes is as important as cleaning the tools. Equipment such as toolboxes, belts and bags need some care as well. So, clean the toolboxes once in a while by emptying them and wiping them.
Inspect The Tools Before Every Use
If you want to use your tools safely, it is recommended to inspect them before every use, especially power tools. People often wear goggles and gloves and follow the safety protocols while using the power tools. But inspecting the tools every time you use them is one of the most important things to ensure your safety and longevity of your tools. See the steps below to inspect your gardening tools.
- Look for Loose, Cracked or Broken Handles: If the wooden handle of any equipment is cracked or damaged, it is prone to breaking during use. It can cause injury to you or others around you while gardening. If a handle is not splintered too badly, you can probably sand it down just fine. But if the handle is really rough, sand against the grain first and then sand with the grain until it becomes smooth enough to use. However, if the handle is cracked or heavily splintered then we recommend you to replace the handle.
- Corrosion and Rust: The gardening tools are not safe to use if they have corrosion or rust on it. So try removing the rust yourself or just replace the tool. To keep the tools rust-free, don’t leave them outdoors. Put them away after every use and store them under cover. Grab some fine grade steel wool and rub the rust way. You can also use a wheel brush on your dermal or electric drill to remove the dust. Removing rust from gardening tools is actually easy if the damage isn’t too big.
- Cracked Shelter on Power Tools: If any of your power tools have more than one hairline crack in the shelter then don’t use it at all. Also, don’t try to repair it yourself if you don’t have the expertise to repair it. Ask a professional to repair it for you.
- Check The Working Condition of Power Tools: If the power tools need a couple of tries to get going or a little “push” to get the blade spinning, don’t use it. First, try to clean and lubricate it and if that doesn’t work then get it repaired.
Regular inspection of tools will ensure that they are in good working condition and will not cause any problem during their use in the garden.
Keep The Gardening Tools Sharp:
Every gardener knows the value of sharp tools, as they make gardening tasks easier, faster and in some cases even better for the plants. So it’s important to periodically sharpen the blades on your pruners, shovels and other cutting and digging tools. Consider these tips to sharpen your gardening tools.
- Check for Edges: Many gardening tools are often flat on one side and angled on the other and some tools are angled on both sides. Also, observe whether the angle of the bevel is sharp and thin like a knife or is it just sharp at the very.
- For Soft Steel Tools: Soft tools, such as hoes, shovels and axes require regular sharpening and the best tool to sharpen these gardening tools is a file. A single-cut mill bastard file with a handle indicates its shape and the size of the teeth. Hold the clean, dry tool firmly with its sharp edge pointing away from you. Rest the far end of the file flat against the bevel of the blade and push the file away from you in one long stroke. Keep up that same point along the whole edge of the blade to keep things uniform. Most hand tools can be sharpened safely and effectively with a file, which you can buy from a hardware shop.
- High-End Tools: If you use high-end pruners or other investment quality tools then consider going to a professional sharpener to keep your tools sharp enough. If you have an electric or gas-powered mower, unplug it from the switch and then remove the blades for sharpening. For ordinary grass shears or for a reel mower, it’s worth investing in special scissor sharpeners, which has a fixed guide that helps you maintain the same angle required for efficient cutting.
The first step in sharpening a tool is to remove rust from it with a wire brush. After removing the rust, apply oil to the sharpening stone. Use a bit of pressure and a smooth motion to sharpen the knife. All types of blades can be sharpened in this way, but the key to maintaining them is how they are stored in your storage area.
The gardening tools are a vital requirement of our life. Regardless of whether we use them during certain seasons or throughout the year, they should be properly maintained. Keeping the gardening tools in top condition does require a bit of commitment. So before putting them away for the season, follow a thorough cleaning and maintenance routine to ensure their long-life and trouble-free operation. The steps mentioned above can really help you maintain your gardening tools and keep them in top condition.