Get­ting ready for spring in the gar­den

Waitaki Herald - - HOUSE AND GARDEN -

Smarten up your tools Gather up any spades, shov­els and other tools that have been sit­ting around all win­ter and give them the once-over with a scrub­bing brush and a square of sand­pa­per.

Wooden han­dles can be looked af­ter by clean­ing then smooth­ing off with sand­pa­per or a sand­ing sponge, before pol­ish­ing with a nat­u­ral, pro­tec­tive oil such as teak oil.

Tools with a clean, sharp edge will cut into the soil with much less ef­fort.

To sharpen spades, trow­els and so on, pass a metal file over the edges of the blade.

Keep the angle shal­low and work your way along both the front and the back of the blade.

If you have one, use a vice to clamp the tool still while you work.

Fin­ish by seal­ing the blade edges with oil. Tak­ing care of prun­ing tools Well cared for prun­ing tools will give a cleaner cut, which re­duces the risk of in­tro­duc­ing plant dis­eases and makes prun­ing Left un­cleared over­flow­ing gut­ters can dam­age the in­side of a house.

phys­i­cally less ef­fort.

Start by mak­ing sure your prun­ing tools are clean.

Remove any in­grained dirt or sap, us­ing a wire brush or wire wool

if nec­es­sary.

Wash them in soapy wa­ter then dry them.

Pruners, lop­pers and shears are all sharp­ened in much the same way.

Hold the tool firmly in po­si­tion then pass the sharp­ener over the edge of the blade.

Use a file, whet­stone or sharp­en­ing stone ap­pro­pri­ate to the size of the blade.

Only sharpen the cut­ting blade it­self, work­ing the stone in the same di­rec­tion as the bevel.

Smaller blades may need to be worked in a cir­cu­lar mo­tion.

It should take be­tween two to five passes of the file or stone to com­plete the sharp­en­ing. Check your gut­ters Clear leaves out of gut­ters if they have be­come choked over win­ter.

Wet leaves ly­ing on the bot­tom of a metal gut­ter will cause it to rust and that red stuff never sleeps and will even­tu­ally turn your gut­ter into a shower rose.

Nearby trees that are con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem can be pruned be­low the roof level to stop any fall­ing in, but if you don’t want to do that and don’t mind reg­u­lar trips up the lad­der to clear the leaves by hand, you can leave trees look­ing nat­u­ral.

You can also in­stall mesh to keep leaves out - which sounds like a great idea and would prob­a­bly keep the nest­ing spar­rows out of your roof as well.

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