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Garden tools and how to make them last longer

Over the years I must have spent a small fortune on garden tools. In the process I have learned a few valuable lessons that could save any gardener a lot of money in the long run.

One of my biggest problems is that I’m rather absentminded. So after working in the garden I would often find that one or more of my tools were missing. This usually involves a lengthy search, because garden tools have an uncanny ability to camouflage themselves; the fact that many of them come with green handles doesn’t help much. To get over the problem I’ve started to paint the handles of all my garden tools a bright colour. I can promise you one thing, finding a pair of garden shears with red handles is much easier than finding a pair with green handles.

Something else that I learned the hard way is to regularly oil the joints of all my tools and store them out of the rain. When I was younger, I would often leave the tools in the garden overnight, especially if I wanted to work in the garden again the next day. I should have had the common sense to realise that would make them rust, but hey, we’re not all in the Einstein category, are we?

That brings me to another point; being lazy and not cleaning your tools after you’re done in the garden will simply ensure that you have a much harder cleaning job lying ahead. Ask me, I know and in case it’s already too late and you’re stuck with garden tools that are clogged with old dirt, get yourself a wire brush; that makes the job a lot easier.

Forty years ago it was possible to leave your garden tools lying around in plain sight of passers-by without much risk of them being stolen, but unfortunately this is no longer the case. I am surprised how many would-be gardeners there are among thieves. Although I am deeply sorry for these people, because they can’t even afford their own garden tools, in my own interest I built myself a nice little lock-up garden shed where I now store all my tools.

Even there I had to learn a hard lesson; finding a specific item among 100 different tools when they’re not properly sorted is a major job. So now I have everything neatly labelled, shears with shears, scissors with scissors and knives with knives.

Of course, my favourite garden tool is my hat. I have no intention of developing skin cancer at my age. Luckily, it’s easy to just chuck it in the washing machine with all the other clothing.

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