Tooling Around in the Garden: Selecting and Caring for Garden Tools

Let’s face it – purchasing a new garden tool is usually not the first thing on your mind when you visit your friendly neighborhood garden center. Most of us tend to gravitate toward the latest and greatest herbaceous eye-candy without considering whether we have all the equipment necessary to prepare and care for it. The right tools, however, are critical to keep all your plants in top condition, and selecting quality garden tools is no simple matter. You want one that meets your needs, is available when needed, is easy on you, is long lasting and is not too expensive or too hard to maintain.

Choosing a New Tool

With so many tools on the market, choosing one that meets your needs can be a daunting task. First consider what type of work you will be doing, and what tools are required to accomplish your goal. Choosing the right tool for the job will make the work easier and more efficient. If you’re not sure, ask – our employees will be happy to assist your selection.

When you find a tool you are interested in, before you buy it, try it! Basic tools in new designs are available to the consumer every year. Those that are ergonomically designed, to align with the natural mechanics of our bodies, are meant to lessen the stress on muscles and joints as we garden. So pick up the tool and see how it feels in your hands. Make sure the weight and size are well suited to your strength and frame. Does it feel comfortable as you simulate the way it will be used? If it feels awkward, you will not be able to use it properly and may be tempted to neglect your garden chores instead.

Caring for New Tools

When you find a tool that meets your needs and is comfortable, you will want to have it around for a long time. Plan to purchase the highest quality tools that your budget will allow. If you purchase tools simply because they are the least expensive, chances are they will not last, and you will eventually spend more money to replace them.

Proper care and storage will add to the longevity of your garden tools. Hose off tools to remove soil and chemicals after every use. Allow tools to dry thoroughly before storing. For hardened soil, use a wire brush. Occasionally cleaning metal surfaces with oil will help to keep tools lubricated and prevent rust. Keep all moving parts oiled as well to enhance performance. Oil wooden handles at least twice a year with linseed oil to help prevent drying and splintering. For ease of use, keep tools with cutting surfaces sharp by filing them as often as needed. Check frequently and tighten any loose screws and bolts. Store all garden tools in a dry place with tool surfaces off the ground.

Every garden tool you own is important to the health, beauty and productivity of your garden and landscape. Be sure you choose the best tools and maintain them well to make the most of all your gardening.

Tomato plant and garden tools