How to prepare tools for spring gardening

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garden tools

The beginning of planting season can be busy. To avoid becoming overwhelmed when its time to start seeds indoors, prepare your garden tools during the winter months so that they’re ready when you need them.

Inspect

Closely inspect your equipment. If a tool is rusty, throw it away. If a tool is broken, determine if you can have it repaired. If not, discard it. You need reliable equipment to get you through the gardening months.

For the equipment that is in good shape, clean it. Use a wire brush to remove dirt from metal shovels, spades and hoes. Sharpen blades on shears, pruners, spades and shovels, following steps from the National Gardening Association.

Organize

A dusty cardboard box in the corner of the garage might keep gardening tools out of the way, but it’s not a convenient location come gardening season. Plus, it’s frustrating to dig through the box to find what you’re looking for, only to realize that some tools aren’t in the box after all.

Keeping your tools in one place will help you to easily locate them when it comes time to be outside working in the dirt. East Texas Gardening recommends organizing your small equipment in a five-gallon bucket and using a wheelbarrow to stock your larger tools like shovels, hoes and rakes. That way you’ll know where everything is when you’re ready to tend to your plants.

Tips for new gardeners

There are numerous tools designed for use in the garden, but if you’re new to gardening, focus on investing in tools that are absolutely necessary. You may even already have some of these items in your garage or shed. West Virginia Extension recommends the following:

Digging tools: shovel, spade, spading fork, hand trowel, hoe
Weeding tools: hand cultivator, hand weeder
Watering tools: watering can, hose, bucket
Pruning tools: floral shears, pruners

Although you don’t have to buy now, you can at least decide which tools you want to purchase come spring and compare prices between various brands and stores. And, if you’re not sure what a spade is used for, or why you need a hand cultivator, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension can answer your garden tool questions.

The cost of buying new tools can add up quickly. The following prices are based on Jan. 2015 Home Depot website listings:

Under $10: trowels, water cans, buckets, hand weeders, hand cultivators
Under $20: pruning shears, hoes, floral shears
Under $30: shovels, spades
Under $40: hoses, spading forks

Buying used tools from yard sales, Craig’s list or a similar service will save you money, but make sure the used tools are in good condition.

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Katie Woods is Farm and Dairy’s online content producer. She grew up in Columbiana, OH. Katie likes reading, writing, enjoying the outdoors and DIY projects.

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