Photo: Varavin88 (Shutterstock)
You probably only use your gardening tools a few times a year, but when you do, you want them to be sharp, rust-free, and ready to go. This means storing them correctly, whether for months over the winter, or for a few days or hours during peak planting season.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to store your tools and keep them sharp and clean, at all at the same time.
What you need
This trick is a favorite of home and garden blogs One Good Thing by Jillee and Creekline House, not least of all because you only need three easy-to-find things to pull it off. Here’s what to pick up at the store:
First, you’ll need enough sand to fill your pot, but you also need to mix it with the mineral oil, so you might also need a bucket or other vessel big enough to do the mixing. Add the mineral oil a bit at a time, keeping in mind that while you want all of the sand to be coated, you also want it to maintain its grainy, crumbly texture. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out if you put in too much.
Once it’s mixed just right, put the oil-moistened sand into your terra cotta pot with enough room at the top for the volume to shift if you stuff in a lot of tools. The next part is easy: Just stick the blades and metal bits of your tools down into the sand.
Why is this a good storage solution?
Not only will the ever-so-slight oil coating keep your metal tools free of rust, but the sand sharpens them a little every time you dunk them in and out, sort of like sandpaper. That means not only will they not incur damage while in storage, but they’ll be slightly better every time you get them out.
What to keep in mind
Out of an abundance of caution, rinse the tools before you use them so you’re not introducing residual oil into the ground or onto your workspace while you garden. Oil isn’t great for animals that might happen across your garden, plus there’s no benefit to having it around or on your stuff.
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