On a small urban farm in USDA Gardening Zone 5a, we use several tools that make gardening more enjoyable and productive; Your gardening tools become part of you, don't they? Starting seeds without a soil blockmaker is fun. Still, you better stand back when I wield my Lanbooke 4 cell with 1/4 inserts. Holding my Cobrahead cultivator, sharp and agile, ready to wrangle the weeds and edges as I move from bed to bed!
I'm writing about gardening tools today to help a customer start her first home garden; she hopes to provide a sustainable organic food source for her family. I told her I'd create a list of springtime gardening activities and decided to begin blogging with the first one on the garden
tools I use on our urban farm. I list the tools by the most used and what we use occasionally. I'll give you a list of activities for each gardening tool and how to maintain your tools.
I sell things to make a living, and I'm mentioning products I want you to buy here on my blog; when you purchase from my blog through the ads or links, I get paid when you purchase from the ads I put here, and I'll hear your feedback and questions about the products and respond accordingly. I do that because I'll only endorse what I've used for more than one gardening season and most likely many years. I only replace a few tools these days, and you won't either when you follow my basic steps.
Additionally, you'll find the products I recommend helpful as I do; I've sold financial products, technology, and lettuce, which is my favorite thing to sell, so today, I sell lettuce and garden tools as an Amazon Associate. At the same time, I believe in the principle from George S. Clason, going something like, "if you can rent it, don't buy it, and if you can borrow it, don't rent it" applies and, brings me peace as it did George in 1929.
You can sense it; I feel passionate about reducing waste in the home and garden; Gardening is a great way to connect with nature and appreciate the environment. When we minimize tool waste in our gardens, we protect the planet. I get satisfaction and a rewarding experience when buying quality garden products that last.
A simple, sustainable approach
The tool shed at FarmYourLot is simple; the simplicity came only after a few years of faltering; one example is the garden cart. The first one was a deal, it didn't last two seasons, and I ended up parting it out with some in the landfill; on the other hand, Vermont Cart I got has been rock solid for the last two seasons. I moved a rock patio and hundreds of straw bales with it, that and the normal gardening activities, and it's like new. Another example is when we first started gardening, I put down lots and lots of heavy-duty landscape fabric :( I did it with every conviction that I was doing the right thing for the garden and the environment we hoped to create. This mistake cost money and added to the landfill when I couldn't find a suitable home for the fabric I had to pull up so my garden would grow. The pain is the hours it took to pull it up and see the damage to the garden years later.
Let's get to the tools! I just heard Tim Allen grunt! I buy quality and maintain quality tools that last, and I avoid buying tools when possible. Don't get me wrong, I love innovation and technology, but simplicity regarding home gardening tools pays off!
The Garden Tools
Landbrooke Soil Block Maker
Cleaning after use, apply WD-40 every few uses
Weeding, cultivates, scalps, edges, digs, furrows, plants, transplants, de-thatches, and harvests
Remove dirt after use, sharpen and oil the blade regularly, sand and oil the wooden handle on the stand-up version
Pruning dead and diseased, thinning, training branches, and harvesting fruits
Remove dirt after use, sharpen the blade regularly, and clean with Hydrogen peroxide
Moving compost and soil
Remove dirt, sharpen the edge, and maintain the handle
Vermont Garden Cart
Carry tools and seedlings, transport your harvest, mulch, compost, and rocks, you name it!
Clean regularly with water and mild detergent.
Lubricate the wheels and axle with grease or a suitable lubricant. Inflate tires to the appropriate pressure, and check for punctures or wear.
Store the cart in a dry, protected area when not in use.
You'll also need a digging shovel to transplant plants, a rake to clear brush and work soil, and buckets. Every so often, you'll need a post driver to make a fence or set a boundary, and I've used the Cobrahead broad fork to prepare beds;
these one-off tool requirements add up quickly; check with your neighbor; maybe they have the tool you need. Keeping it simple with less is the best approach to gardening tools that can save you some cash and reduce storage and landfill space.
Maintain your urban farming tools for the long run.
Maintaining our garden tools and cart is essential for longevity and performance; they'll last longer and make them easier to use, which is a safer tool.
A sharp garden tool is safer; it reduces the risk of injury in a few ways:
It is less likely to slip out of your hand and injure you.
It is less likely to tear through plants and hurt you.
It is less likely to cause you to overexert yourself and hurt yourself.
A sharp garden tool is also easier to control, which can help to prevent accidents.
Here are detailed steps to keep our tools and cart in good condition:
Clean the tools after each use:
Remove dirt and debris with a stiff brush, or rinse them with water.
For stubborn dirt, soak metal parts in water for a few minutes before scrubbing.
Dry the tools thoroughly to prevent rust.
Sharpen blades regularly.
I use a sharpening stone and a file to sharpen the blades pruning shears, loppers, knives, and shovels.
Maintain the original bevel angle and ensure even sharpening along the edge.
Lubricate the blades with oil after sharpening to prevent rust and improve performance.
Oil moving parts:
Apply a few drops of lubricant, such as WD-40 or a similar product, to the moving parts of tools like pruning shears, loppers, and hedge trimmers.
Wipe away any excess oil to prevent buildup.
Inspect and tighten loose parts:
Check for loose screws, nuts, and bolts on tools and the garden cart.
Tighten any loose parts with a wrench or screwdriver.
Store tools in a dry, protected area away from moisture.
Apply a light coat of oil to metal parts to prevent rusting.
Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any existing rust before oiling.
Replace damaged or worn parts:
Inspect tools regularly for broken or worn handles, blades, or other components.
Replace damaged parts, or consider purchasing new tools if the damage is severe.
Maintain wooden handles:
Sand rough or splintered handles with medium-grit sandpaper.
Apply a coat of linseed oil or another wood preservative to protect the wood and prolong its lifespan.
Garden cart maintenance:
Inspect the cart for damage, such as cracks, bends, or rust.
Clean the cart regularly with water and mild detergent.
Lubricate the wheels and axle with grease or a suitable lubricant.
Inflate tires to the appropriate pressure, and check for punctures or wear.
Store the cart in a dry, protected area when not in use.
Set your Gardening tool maintenance schedule.
Maintaining your garden tools and the cart will ensure they remain functional and last
longer, making your gardening tasks more efficient and enjoyable. Set a task or reminder to keep your tools going season after season.
Here is a good gardening tool maintenance schedule for
USDA Hardiness Zone 5a:
Winter: Clean all tools and store them in a dry place.
Spring: Inspect all tools for damage and repair as needed.
Summer: Sharpen all cutting tools.
Fall: Clean all tools again and store them in a dry place.
It is also essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions for specific tools. For example, some tools may need to be oiled regularly or stored a certain way.
Following this maintenance schedule, you can keep your gardening tools in good condition and extend their lifespan. Here are some additional tips for maintaining your gardening tools:
Store tools in a dry place. Moisture can cause rust and damage to tools.
Sharpen tools regularly. Dull tools are more likely to cause accidents.
Inspect tools for damage. Repair any damage as soon as possible.
Oil tools regularly. This will help to prevent rust and corrosion.
Store tools in a safe place. Keep them out of reach of children and pets.
With this quick and easy guide, we've covered the tools you need in the garden and how to maintain them in your garden for many years of reliable use.
Comments and feedback are encouraged and appreciated.