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Four Rules for Long-Lasting Tools

Four Rules for Long-Lasting Tools
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It’s tempting to skip tool cleanup when
your gardening chores are done.there’s
always something else that needs your
attention. But wise gardeners will heed
this advice from the British Ministry of
Agriculture’s Allotment
& Garden Guide

of January 1945: “A
little care is well
worth while. Many a
tool has had years taken off its useful
life by being allowed to rust in a damp
shed. No good gardener lets his tools
rust, for he knows they take more energy
to use when their surfaces are dull.” The
Allotment & Garden Guide offers these
rules for maintaining tools in “first-class

1. “Never put your garden tools away
dirty.Wash off any soil adhering to them
and dry them with an old cloth.”A strong
stream of water from the hose works well
for removing soil from tools; if you work
over a bucket, you can catch the water for
your plants.

2. “Always wipe them over with an
oily rag before putting them away.” Keep
a cloth moistened with vegetable oil or
mineral oil in a heavy-duty resealable
plastic bag on a hook next to where you
store your tools.Wipe the metal parts of
your tools with the cloth when you put
them away.Refresh the oil on the cloth as
needed; when it becomes too soiled from
repeated use, either wash it in soapy
water or throw it away.

3. “Don’t leave them lying about
where they may rust or rot.”

4. “The best way to keep [tools] in
good condition is to use them often.”

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