All summer long you take care of your lawn and garden by mowing, weeding, raking and shoveling. Now it will soon be time to put those tools you used away for the winter. Taking care of tools will prolong their life. Proper care of garden tools and equipment helps them last longer, prevents costly repairs, and improves their performance.


In fall, remove caked-on soil from shovels, spades, hoes, and rakes with a wire brush or a stiff putty knife. Wash the tools with a strong stream of water, then dry. Sharpen the blades of hoes, shovels, and spades. Wipe the metal surfaces with an oily rag or spray with WD-40. Sand rough wooden handles, then wipe with linseed oil to prevent drying and cracking. Hang or store the tools in a dry location. Drain water from garden hoses. To prevent kinking, store hoses on reels or coil and place on a flat surface.


While you may need to mow your fescue lawn a few more times, when you are done remove grass and other debris from your mower’s underside. Drain and change the oil on mowers with four-cycle engines. Clean the air filter. Check the spark plug and change it if worn. Start the lawn mower and let it run until it is out of gas. Sharpen the mower blade. Finally, store the lawn mower in a dry location.


With the gardening chores completed, it's time to relax and enjoy the upcoming holidays.


— Scott Eckert is a Kansas State Research and Extension agent for Harvey County. Horticulture is his specialty. He can be reached at 316-284-6930.