I haven’t written about the garden lately, because there isn’t much “happening” out there these days, plus, um, brr. However, yesterday was gorgeous, so I wanted to get out and do some pruning. Late winter is a great time to prune! And like most gardeners, I love love pruning, it’s so fun and satisfying.
We had a few nice days earlier this month, but I didn’t get out in the garden. In part, that’s because I didn’t clean or sharpen my tools last fall, and I wanted to do that first. I haven’t done that in a couple years. Ideally, I would have cleaned them at the end of the fall, and stored them in the basement so they would stay dry. I didn’t do that, so there’s a fair amount of gunk and rust on them.
Back in the day, I was a gardener for a living. I cleaned my pruners seasonally, and sharpened them at least once a year. I’m not a professional gardener anymore, and I don’t think I’ve sharpened my tools since I was. I had to buy a file and stone! It can be a project to clean and sharpen your tools, particularly if you are new or it’s been awhile. But it’s important to do. Sharp tools reduce the work for you and make cleaner cuts. Also, keeping your tools clean makes them last longer.
Tools can spread diseases from one plant to the next, or around on one plant. I don’t have huge concerns about this in my garden, other than black spot on the rose, but I still don’t want to create problems where they weren’t before by spreading disease.
I’ll be doing the rest of this post as a photo essay, because a picture tells a thousand words, right?
In the above photo, you can see my initials carved into the handle. These are pruners I got over 10 years ago working at an Arboretum in Philadelphia. Pruners for a gardener are like knives for a chef, they are personal. People don’t share (usually). I’d rather buy replacement parts for these than get a new pair. (Felco is the best, they will sell any single part individually. You get the blades in any store that sells them, but online they have everything.)
I’ll be cleaning all my tools soon, and sharpening a few, too. My loppers definitely need it, but also my shovels. Soil and rocks are so hard on the edge of a shovel, and sharpening will help with ease of digging and cutting through roots.
Once you get this “housekeeping” done, your gardening experience will be much easier. Happy gardening!