You’ve got a garden shed full of equipment and you might be wondering how you can keep it in perfect shape. In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to take care of all the gardening tools you might have in your garden shed, potting shed, or tool shed.
First, the little ones: non-mechanized gardening equipment
Even as an amateur gardener, you’ve probably got a good amount of tools in your shed. Pruning shears, spades, hand shovels, and the like all need some regular maintenance to keep them nice and sharp. With a bit of care, these tools can last years.
Here are a few tips to keep your smaller tools brand new:
- Never store them without cleaning them off. If you leave dirt on your loppers, secateurs, or other smaller tools, they’ll start to break down over time. Most dirt or mud will come off with a rinse of warm soapy water, but you’ll want to soak caked-on dirt to make sure none of the metal is covered before storing your tools. Use a rag or brush to wipe away any remaining dirt.
- Tighten all bolts. Loose shears are not only going to be less effective, but they could damage the blades over time. Keep a screwdriver in your garden shed so that you can tighten your tools every once in a while.
- Make sure they’re nice and dry before storing. Similar to dirt or mud, moisture will rust and weaken your garden tools. Always dry your garden equipment with towels or rags instead of air-drying.
- Sharpen your blades. A dull blade isn’t just annoying, it can also damage your plants and expose them to disease and damage. When you notice the blades are cutting with a little more effort, you can sharpen them with a metal file or whetstone. Make sure to wipe or brush away any metal dust when you’re done sharpening.
- Oil them up. In addition to keeping your tools clean and dry, an occasional coating of oil can be beneficial. Vegetable oil is perfect, and you can apply it with a clean rag. You can go even further by adding a bit of tea tree oil to your vegetable oil. Tea tree oil is a natural sterilizer which will protect your garden from diseases.
- Don’t forget about the handles. If you’ve got plastic handles, maintenance will be pretty minimal. But wooden handles can be kept in good condition with occasional sanding and oiling.
Moving onto the bigger tools in your garden shed: mechanized gardening equipment
You might have more heavy-duty tools in your tool shed that will need a bit more than regular cleaning. Here are a few tips to keeping your mechanized gardening equipment in good working order:
- Read the manual before you use your tools. Most people fire up their lawn mowers or whipper snippers without much of a thought, but every tool is just a little bit different. Do yourself a favour and read the manual just in case.
Lawn mower maintenance
Lawn mowers are the machine in your garden shed that will probably require the most maintenance. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Lawn mowers should be cleaned completely about 3 times per year. If you let the grass build up in your mower, you’ll have a less effective mower on your hands. You might also be putting undue stress on the motor, which will wear out over time.
- Clean or change the air filter. If you’ve got a machine with an air filter, it’s going to need regular cleaning and occasional changing.
- If you’ve got a 4-stroke mower, check the oil. You’ll want to do this about 2 to 3 times per year. And once a year, it’s a good idea to drain the oil completely and exchange it will new oil.
- Change your spark plugs. These will need to be changed annually.
- Keep your blades sharp. This is also a maintenance step that will need to be done about once a year. This is going lower the stress on your mower motor while also maintaining the health of your grass.
- Check your fuel. Your fuel is going to go bad after about a month, so if you use your mower infrequently, make sure to add a fuel booster or change the fuel before you use it agin.
Leaf Blower Maintenance
There are many types of leaf blowers out there, all requiring a different kind of regular maintenance. You’ll notice that many of them are similar to lawn mowers if you’ve got a petrol fueled leaf blower.
- Check and change oil.
- Change spark plug
- Clean the fuel tank
- Clean and change the air filter
- Clean and service the carburetor
Whipper snipper (aka line trimmer or weed whacker)
This may be one of your smaller mechanized garden machines, but they’ll still require a bit of regular maintenance.
- Check and change the spark plugs
- Make sure all wiring and bolts are secure and tight
- Check and wash the air filter
- Check and service the carburetor
If you’re unsure of how to do anything on this list, or you’ve done all of the upkeep in your machine is still running a bit slow, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional. Servicing for gardening tools is generally pretty reasonable, and you’ll be sure that your machines are in great shape.
Your garden equipment is good as new! Make sure your potting shed is in great shape, too.
Now that you’ve got well cared for gardening equipment, the only other thing you can do to protect them is to make sure your garden shed is clean and secure. Patch up any holes that will let in rain or snow, and rodent-proof the tool shed to make sure your equipment isn’t prone to rat nests or spider webs.
This may seem like quite a bit of information, but when you make garden tool maintenance part of your normal gardening routine, you’ll find it’s easy to care for your tools. And, because your tools will last so much longer, you’ll be glad you took the extra time for some garden equipment maintenance.