Getting ready for spring in the 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
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.