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Storing Tools for Winter

Follow these tips to ensure your gardening tools are in great shape next spring.

Garden shovels


  • Clean every metal surface—scrape and scrub away soil, using water if necessary.
  • Once the surface is clean and dry, coat the metal with a layer of spray lubricant, such as WD-40.
  • Sharpen pruners, loppers and shears should be sharpened with a whetstone.
  • Sharpen the edges of shovels and hoes with a bastard mill file.
  • Store short-handled tools together in a box or bin.
  • Hang long-handled tools on the wall of the shed, cellar or garage.


  • Clean all surfaces and sprayy lubricate any bare metal.
  • Run 4-cylinder enginines until they are warm, then drain and replace the oil and clean the air filter. Run the engine until it is out of gas, or add a gasoline stabilizer to the tank.
  • Sharpen the lawn mower's blade.


  • Store any kind of chemicals (fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc, organic or not) in a cool, dry place, out of the reach of children. (This holds true year-round, not just in winter.)
  • Synthetic fertilizers, especially those that contain calcium nitrate or ammonium nitrate, will absorb moisture from the air and lose nutrients unless it is tightly wrapped in plastic.


  • Drain hoses and coil them loosely.
  • Store nozzles, valves and other attachments together in a nearby box.


  • Clean empty containers with a scrub brush and soapy water; stack them and put them away.
  • Pots can be sterilized by dipping them in a 5-percent solution of Clorox bleach in water.
  • Tightly roll the tops of opened bags of peat moss and peat-based potting mixes to prevent them from drying out.

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