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I dug the sweet potatoes with the grandchildren’s assistance this week. Looking over the remainder of the garden area got me thinking about what I need to do to put the garden to rest for winter. Every gardener has a different opinion about composting and pruning and tilling in the weeds. But all the opinions are the same about taking care of the garden tools. That’s what I want to talk about for a moment.
Now that fall is here, it’s time to clean the tools and preserve them for spring planting. After all, who has time in the spring to clean them!
Clean and sharpen your tools before storing them. Find an old pot or bucket that’s large enough to hold your metal-blade tools. Fill it with dry sand. Mix in lubricating oil such as vegetable oil with the sand until it is thoroughly moist. Use a putty knife or steel-wool scrubbing pad to remove large clumps of caked mud from the blades. Plunge the blades into the mixture several times to remove dirt and then polish them with a coarse cloth such as a piece of burlap. Sharpen any blade edges that need it with a file. Hang the tools for storage.
You can winter your tools in the sandy mix. Simply place the container with the tools in a cool, dry place for winter storage and let the mix do its work. In the spring, remove the tools from the mixture and wipe down the blades with a piece of burlap or coarse cloth. Keep the sandy mixture for use anytime you want to spruce up your tools!
Keep wooden tool handles from splitting and drying out during the winter months by rubbing them with linseed oil before storage.
Taking care of our garden tools is like taking care of our bodies. While we don’t want to winter in a bucket of oily sand, we do want to be spruced up for spring! We need daily exercise and fresh air, exposure to sunshine, to drink plenty of water, to get 8 hours of rest each night, a way to de-stress at the end of the day, to increase your intake of vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds and to decrease the amount of fat and sugar you eat.
Start now to get your body prepared for next spring. Our next diabetes seminar is starting Thursday, October 17 at the Community Center in Altamont. These classes are for anyone who is at risk for developing diabetes and that’s all of us! Come and learn. Let’s get spruced up together.