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Cleaning Tools

Burn off a few calories and get ready for spring with a trip to the garden shed or garage. 

Now is a great time to rid your tools of dirt and rust.  Clean, sharp, quality tools can make the difference between drudgery and efficiency when working in the landscape.

Let’s start with shovels, a tool every gardener uses and seems to abuse. Use a wire brush to remove any caked on soil or lots of rust. Once you’ve broken through that first layer of dirt, use steel wool to finish cleaning.

This does require some time and sweat but it will pay off the first time you glide your shovel through the soil. Once clean, give your shovel a nice sharp edge that will easily cut through the soil. Use a three-sided file to bevel the edge.

Turn the shovel over and remove any burrs that form on the backside. Use steel wool to clean and smooth the edge. With proper care your tools will probably last much longer than some of those perennials you put in your garden.

A bit more information:  Always wear safety glasses when cleaning and sharpening tools.  Small pieces of dust, rust or dirt can fly into your eyes.  Wipe down pruning tools with a thick rough cotton cloth to remove any sap and debris from their blades after use.  And be sure to disinfect your pruners with a one part bleach to 9 part water solution between cuts made on diseased plants.

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June 6, 2020
Ebert's Greenhouse Village
Ixonia, WI

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Milwaukee Public Library
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