What to do in your Garden in February

The weather here and across the nation has been rather strange and erratic this winter.  When Alabama gets 5 inches of snow and Washington, D.C. gets the most snow in decades, the idea of doing things in your garden seem so far away.  But here in Colorado there are some things you can do while the winds blow and the snow falls.  Performing these few tasks will give you a head start once Spring arrives, plus it will help with that cabin fever brewing inside of you.

I know those seed catalogs have arrived since the beginning of the year making you more anxious to get your hands in the dirt.  Take time and think about what you want to plant this year.  While you are all snuggled up in your blanket with your hot chocolate, decide what you are going to plant, by browsing through your seed catalogs and order the variety you have chosen. Continue reading

Cleaning those Garden Tools

I know by now all you gardeners no matter what part of the country you live in are itching to do something in your garden.  Those seed catalogs have started to show up in your mailboxes, I received three the other day was giddy with delight, and feel the urge to do something.  Now let’s not jump the gun yet.  One thing you can do if you already haven’t done it, and I am guilty myself, is to clean and get those garden tools ready for spring.

For all you gardeners who have done your tool cleaning, go back to your seed catalogs.  Now for the rest of us go out to your shed or wherever you store your tools and check them out.  Do some of them still have dirt on, dull edges or that nasty four letter word “RUST” ?  It is time we do something about that.

The first thing we should do is get all that dirt off.  You can scrape it off with a good stiff brush or wire brush.  For that really stuff dirt, the dirt that has been there since August, you will have to spray it a hose or let it soak in a bucket.

Once the dirt is cleaned off use an old rag or your wife’s hand towel and dry them off completely.

If any “RUST” has developed on your tools take some steel wool and scrape it off.  Make sure you wear some good gloves while doing this action.

Once the “RUST” is removed it is time to sharpen the tools.  This can be done a couple different ways.  You can use one of those new high speed sharpeners you can buy from garden magazines.  Or, you can you use elbow grease and a #10 bastard mill file.  If you use the file hold the tool tightly and file the tool at a 45 degree angle.  Make nice smooth single strokes on the beveled side until sharp and then flip the tool over to remove any burrs.

Now that our tools are clean and sharp we need to protect them from that nasty “RUST”.  Spray your tools with some type of penertrating oil or WD-40.  One thing I do during the growing season to keep them clean is after using them stick them in a bucket of sand combined with some motor oil a couple times, wipe them down and then  put them away.

We cleaned our tools, sharpened them and gave them a coat of oil, but one more thing we need to do.  That is to preserve the wood handles.  We do this by making sure they are clean and any splinters sanded and for the final touch a little paste wax to protect the wood.

By doing these few things now when we have time our tools will be ready to go when it is time to start digging, and that won’t be soon enough for me.