November 11, 2009
We have had a couple of nights of below freezing temperatures. I would guess that the annual flowers have seen their last days.
Even though the outdoor garden season has come to an end, there are a few things you need to do to finish off the season.
Many of you have a significant investment in garden tools. They should be cleaned up before they are put away for the winter.
Fertilizer spreaders should be washed thoroughly. This will remove any residue of fertilizer or lime. Both of these products can corrode fittings and lead to the failure of the spreader. Let the spreader dry and then oil all of the moving parts to prevent and corrosion during storage.
Cutting tools need to be cleaned up as well. Sap on the cutting edges can make the tools malfunction. Use rubbing alcohol to remove the sap. Any existing rust can be cleaned up with some fine grit sandpaper. Place a drop of oil on the cutting surfaces to prevent any corrosion during storage. Shovels and other long handle tools should have caked on soil removed. Use sandpaper to remove any rust. An application of oil will prevent any corrosion. Garden hoses should be drained of water to prevent any damage from frozen water bursting the hose. Replace any damaged fittings with new fittings. We have these fittings at the store.
Lawn mowers should be cleaned up as well. Remove the wire from the spark plug to prevent the mower from starting before you do any clean up under the mower deck. Moving the blade without removing the wire from the spark plug could make the mower start up. Nothing ruins the day like having your hands under a mower with the blade of the mower spinning around!
Remove any grass build up from under the mower deck. Remove dead grass in any areas where the grass has accumulated. The grass can hold in moisture and cause the metal to rust. If you know how to properly sharpen the mower blade, you can do that this fall. If not, it would be a good idea to send the mower off to the repair shop for preventative maintenance. Letting the mower be in a state of disrepair will mean a long wait for repairs in the spring. If you have finished up any maintenance yourself, oil all of the moving parts and the cutting edge of the blade. Again, this will prevent any rust formation over the winter months. If you have a riding mower, you may want to put a packet of Mouse Magic under the hood. This will keep mice from building a home under the hood. Mice are notorious for gnawing on the wires under the hood.
Wheelbarrows should be cleaned up and oil applied to metal surfaces. If you leave the wheelbarrow outside, turn it upside down to prevent snow and water from building up in the tub of the wheelbarrow. It would be a good idea to cover it with a tarp to prevent the snow or rain from damaging the metal. We sell tarps at the store if you need one.
The end of the garden season does not mean the end of your chores. If you do not prepare your gardening tools for winter, come the spring you can wind up with a lot of damage that can be expensive to repair.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.