Yes, you can wash certain garden tools in your dishwasher. Garden tools may have come in contact with pesticides or animals, so don’t mix them with a load of dishes. And don’t wash those with wood handles.
Scotts Snap Spreader
D-Handle Garden Spade
Fiskars Shear Ease Grass Shears
Here’s a bonus tip for end of the season maintenance from The Old Farmer’s Almanac: On a mild day, run your garden hose up over a railing or over the shed to remove all the water. Then roll it up and put it away.
A guest post by creative garden designer and writer Catharine Howard.
I went down to the tool shed to choose spades and hoe etc. Kersplat, the morning evaporated. Confronting me was a mess of coated mud and sad rusting blades and tines. Really good garden secateurs, forks and so on are like your old friends. You know them so well that they get taken for granted. Depended on heavily but so familiar that you don’t check that they are in best health and you may forget to nurture.
I was staring into the face of blatant neglect, a season long. That’s why I have spent the last several hours with wire wool nibbling away at the rust and the oil and rag to hone three faithful garden implements.
Now the trio are ready for photo shoot and to be presented to The Gardening Tool Shed blog. Next, the bad one is called a ditching spade, and it is heavy and not a looker. My least favored shade of maroon too. The use of this implement is to bite deep into the soil. For waging war on bramble roots or long-rooted ruderal weeds, it is the unequaled. A truly useful beast.
The ugly? Ugly as far as any small weeds go. This is a hoe called a swoe (a three-edged hoe) and it is light and glides in the vegetable patch or perennial border to nip out the weed seedlings. No tool shed is complete without one. Of the three, along with my secateurs and car keys, I feel anxious if I cannot lay my hands on it.
Whether a tree falls down in your landscape or you need to cut one down, there’s going to come a time when you’ll need a chainsaw in your gardening tool shed. For instance, I have a large Oak that is dead and has to come down. Lots of other trees need to be thinned out. Luckily, I have gone through the purchasing process having purchased a Stihl saw seven or eight years ago, and learned some lessons that I’ll share with you here.
A chainsaw is one of the most complicated tool purchases for the average gardener to make. You’ll hear a lot of claims from dealers about which chainsaw is best or which saw gives you a bigger bang for your buck. When I went searching for a new chainsaw, a dealer told me I’d get more for my money if I traded in my old Stihl and get a Dolmar 5100 with a 20″ inch bar for $300. My problem was I didn’t know anything about the Dolmar brand other than what the dealer told me. I did some research and talked to some “tree guys” about their experience with the brand. The Dolmar 5100 is a great chainsaw by all accounts in the 50cc class, but so are the Stihl 260/026 and Husky 346XP. They are all pro quality 50cc class saws. The Dolmar 5100 may run a little better, but it didn’t make sense to trade a good working Stihl 026 for a 5100 plus $300. It’s not a good economic choice because a good working Stihl 026 can fetch $200 conservatively. A new Dolmar 5100 goes for less than $420. Besides, the 5100 is best suited with a 16″ bar. You can run a 20″ on it, but it runs better with a 16″. The same goes for the Husky 346xp and Stihl 026/260.
So, what to do? A lot of the tree guys I spoke to suggested that I should get a second chainsaw that can handle at least a 20″ bar. The Stihl MS361 is one of the real favorites for a 20″ saw. It turns out that Stihl, Husky, and Dolmar/Makita have some excellent saws in that size. For instance, the Stihl MS361 has great power for its weight. If even more power is required (depending on what you are cutting), you should start to look at the 75cc saws: Stihl MS440/441, Dolmar 7900, Husky 372. I was told that the Dolmar 7900 is great bargain for that class. However, machines of that size can get tiring for all day use. Another option is a rental saw. If you only have a one-time use, going the rental route makes a lot of sense.
A guest post by Geoff Stonebanks of Driftwood By The Sea
My coastal garden, Driftwood, in East Sussex on the south coast of the UK, is a real haven, some might say a final resting place, for many rusted, old, garden tools and implements. To me a garden is as much about the ephemera contained within it as about the stunning plants planted therein! I have some very personal items that belonged to family members no longer with us. Some gorgeous vintage objects, simply bought for their beauty and elegance and inevitably those acquired simply for their practicality. I’m obsessed by gardening and have seen over 10,000 visitors view both these objects and my collection of over 600 plants on show at Driftwood over the last five years.
On the personal note, I have a lovely rusted metal lawn roller that belonged to my father who died back in 2007, which has pride of place in the garden, gracefully allowing plants to grow up through it as though it had lain where placed for many years! This, despite the fact I no longer have a lawn! Still, it looks great! I am still in possession of some of my grandfather’s garden tools as well! He died back in the 1970’s, and I so enjoy bringing them out and using every so often. You can see in the picture there is an old hoe, rusted rake and a well used shovel like spade, all belonging to him! Hanging in the shed there’s also a pair of lawn edging shears that no longer get used but look great hanging there!
I couldn’t resist the lovely children’s’ wheelbarrow (pictured) when it leaped out at me in an antique shop in Devon a few years ago. It makes a really great feature, not to mention a great talking point, carefully placed in one of the seven garden rooms. Several years ago we were browsing in a local antique shop and came across a stunning, original Victorian umbrella topiary frame, now resting by the pond and looking so at home, simply as a rusted piece of sculpture. I recently saw a beautiful French sack barrow in the same shop and realized it would be a great addition to the garden too. It now resides, part practical but mostly decorative in one of many garden rooms.
If this has whet your appetite, why now take a good look at what else is hidden in this seaside sanctuary by visiting www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk
Let’s say you have several large flower beds and the soil gets compacted over the winter. You’re getting tired of huffing and puffing while fluffing the hard ground with a manual garden hoe every spring. So, you’re thinking would a Mantis tiller do the trick? Is it overkill? Or will this be your long-awaited salvation from a tiresome spring chore?
A Mantis tiller is perfect for tilling flower beds. The engine speed is controlled by a lever next to one handle grip, and that gives you very good control over what’s happening with the tines. The Mantis is very light and easy to move around. It does take a bit of practice to get used to it because it is certainly different from other types of tillers that one normally uses. For instance, you have to act as the anchor for the Mantis, but that isn’t difficult to do with a little practice. Practice on normal soil before venturing in between the flowers so you won’t cry if the tiller jumps and land on your flowers. To recap, the Mantis has the capability of cultivating several inches of compacted soil or mulch and can also dig holes for new plantings. If you’re worried about power, purchase a model with a 35cc engine or larger. If that size is out of your budget range, the Mantis with the 21cc 2 cycle Echo engine has plenty of power. However, you need to understand that the lightest model is more prone to jumping.
If you buy a Mantis (or any power tiller) make sure you use Stabil in your gas and avoid using gas that is more than four months old. If you only use your tiller seasonal, empty the gas out, prime all the gas out of the bulb, rest the tine on soft soil, close the choke and try starting it and running it until the tiller stops. Then, with the choke still close, hold the trigger and pull it a few more times to pull all the gas out. Make sure it is resting on soft soil so that if the engine revs up and turns the tine, it won’t jump. After this procedure, you can store it away safely for months.
BONUS TIP: For an easy way to dig holes for your garden plants, use a Bosch Rotary Hammer with large SDS bits. Use a bit that looks like 4″ wide shuffle and just hammer down. You’ll be able to dig a hole for five gallon plant in a few minutes. Your back will thank me.
The garden workbench inside the toolshed at Imladris Farm.
Imladris is located southeast of Asheville, North Carolina, in the small mountain community of Fairview.
The simple solution is to use the shovel: the dirt, rocks, etc. will remove most of the rust while you work. If that’s not enough or you want to get the shovel as clean as possible, there are more elaborate ways to go about the task.
One way is to use wet sand. Place the sand in a bucket and soak it with used motor oil. Then plunge the shovel in and out of the bucket. After the shovel has been through the process wipe it with a bit of oil on a rag. Later, you can store the shovel in the sand/motor oil mixture. In fact, you can store all of your shovels, rakes, and hoes in buckets full of sand/motor oil, thus keeping them clean and all standing in one place.
If you want to take the rust removal to an extreme level, you can use Naval Jelly which is basically phosphoric acid. If you want to use it to remove rust, wire brush the shovel first to get most of the rust off, then “paint” on the Navel Jelly and let it sit for approximately 10 minutes (but not longer than 15 minutes). Wash off the Navel Jelly with water.
Melanie Haiken, a San Francisco Bay Area-based health, science, and travel writer who contributes regularly to Forbes.com and numerous national magazines, wrote a compelling article for TakePart about eco-Friendly garden tools. In her article, Haiken points out that your gas-powered lawn mower can actually pollute more than your car.
The ecology is one of the main reasons that I personally don’t have a lawn on my half-acre property, which is surrounded instead by native plants and edibles instead of turf grass. By not installing a lawn (along with dozens of other green choices that I made during the construction process), the NC Healthy Built Homes organization awarded my property with a Healthy Built Silver Certification in 2009.
Haiken lists the following five Eco-friendly gardening tools that you can feel good about using. Click on the product links I provided if you’d like to buy one of these tools on Amazon. Your Amazon purchase helps support this blog without costing you an extra penny:
Push Mowers: Let’s start with the basics; a push mower puts out zero pollution and gives you a good workout, too. And forget the arm-straining rust-encrusted rattletrap in your grandfather’s shed. Today’s modern models can weigh as little as 16 pounds and promise blades that can stay sharp for up to 10 years.
Electric Mowers: Probably the most popular alternative to gas-powered mowers, electric mowers come in all sizes and styles. The most popular and most affordable ones are plug-in corded models, which work like the outdoor version of a vacuum cleaner. While dragging a cord around behind you can be a hassle, corded mowers are considerably lighter, since they don’t have to carry a battery.
Electric Weed and Hedge Trimmers: If you’re visualizing an electric cord tangling around your ankles, you’re behind the times. Cordless electric hedge trimmers from companies like Earthwise and GreenWorks have batteries that recharge from a plug in your garage.
Battery-Powered Mowers and Tools: It took a team of high-tech developers to come up with the Recharge mowers, powered by a 36 Volt lithium-ion battery that regains its full charge in less than two hours. Other brands now making rechargeable cordless mowers include Neuton, Sun Joe, and old favorites like Black & Decker and Craftsman.
The Cordless Toolbox: From corded to battery-powered, electric versions of your favorite tools are hitting the market including electric chainsaws, electric tillers, and electric leaf blowers. But don’t even think about the leaf blower—they’re so noisy, there’s no way a it can be environmentally friendly.
|Garden Hoe||Approx. Price||Features||Average Amazon Customer Review Score||Gardening Toolshed's Pick|
|DeWit DeWit Diamond Hoe||$62||60 in straight ash handle, 60 in. long, head: 2 x 8 in.||4.5|
|Prohoe Triangle Head Rogue Hoe||$55||40 in. curved hickory handle, 2 in. rear pick, head: 6 in, tempered steel, 6 in. metal ferrule.||5|
|Bully Tools 92365 12-Gauge Mortar Hoe||$47||Fiberglass handle with triple-wall construction, 10 in. 12 gauge mortar hoe, American made, limited lifetime guarantee.||5|
|Razorback Mortar Hoe Perforated Hardwood Handle||$50||66 in. white ash handle, 10 in. blade, steel ferrule, forged blade.||5||X|
|Truper 33035 Tru Pro Forged Mortar Hoe||$40||60 in. white ash handle, 10 in. mortar head.||4|