We live in a consumerist society where we tend to just buy new things rather than make existing things last longer. Garden tools are an excellent example of how we can make things last rather than keep buying cheap tools every couple of years.
Buy Good Quality
Firstly buy good quality garden tools. They may not be the cheapest, but, they should be seen as an investment to last a long time rather than a disposable item. Ironically, buying cheap tools frequently can be more expensive than buying good quality tools that last a long time.
Clean After Use.
After using a spade or secateurs spend the odd minute to clean off the gunk. Knock off the soil from a spade and give a quick wipe down. With secateurs and shears it is even more important to clean after use because the sap of plants will reduce the sharpness of tools and significantly reduce its life expectancy. Wipe away the sap with a cloth and give a quick spray with WD 40 or other water repellent spray. Taking a minute to clean your tools will definitely repay the effort. It is also much nicer to use tools which are clean to start with. Dirty tools become a disincentive to start gardening.
Don’t leave Outside.
It might sound obvious advice, but, leaving tools outside can cause them to deteriorate much faster. It is something I have been guilty of in the past and often leads to the tool becoming unusable.
Use for Right Job
Another big cause of broken garden tools is when we use it for the wrong job. Sometimes we try to dig up a tree stump and put too much pressure on the spade. It is better to dig around the tree stump to loosen it first before exerting too much pressure on the unmovable stump. Also secateurs can easily be blunted by trying to cut twigs which are too thick. Make sure you don’t try to cut corners, if necessary get out the saw.
Rack them Up.
Using a combination of nails and clips, you should store tools off the ground on the wall. The main benefit is that it will help the garden shed be more organised. But, it will also help the tools to dry and last longer.
Keep Them Safe
It is sad but thief are always on the look out for metal and particularly good tools. Put your tools somewhere safe and take care even if you are still working around the garden. I lost some shears this week to an opportunist thief!
Lock your shed or garage when not in use.