The Worst Garden Tools In Your Shed

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The worst and most useless tool in the garden shed is the tool that doesn’t work, is broken and poorly maintained, doesn’t have a real purpose or performs a job that can be done better by another tool. And then there’s that groovy new gadget that someone just can’t live without. Keep all of the tools in your garden shed useful and functioning. Buy the best quality tool that you can afford, make sure that the tool will be used regularly and keep tools clean and maintained to get the best and longest performance.

Rusty Garden Tools

Broken and rusty tools are the most useless tools in a garden shed. Before you throw away that rusty or broken garden tool, find a way to repair it and bring it back to its useful life. Metal parts on garden tools can rust easily, especially if the tools were not cleaned before being put up for the winter or were left out in the rain. Rust causes the metal surface to become dull and creates pits in the metal. If the rust is not cleaned off and kept off, the tool will be permanently damaged.

  • Clean tools after each use and store in a dry place that is off the ground.
  • Remove rust by soaking a rag in mineral oil and wiping down the tool.
  • Hard to remove rust can be removed with fine steel wool. Apply a thin coat of mineral oil.
  • Use a file to sharpen the blade edge of shovels and hoes. Use short strokes and file away from your body.
  • Use a whetstone or kitchen knife sharpener to sharpen the cutting blade of pruners.
  • Sand wooden handles to remove any splinters and to make the handles smooth. A light coat of mineral oil will prevent wood from drying out.
  • Before putting garden tools away for a season, clean and dry tools thoroughly, apply a light coat of mineral oil to metal parts and follow manufacture directions for tool storage.

Poor Quality Garden Tools

The trick to having garden tools that will be around year after year is to purchase quality tools that are durable, designed to do a job efficiently and are a comfortable fit. Useful garden tools are made from durable materials, feel sturdy and can be worked with comfortably. When shopping for garden tools, ask yourself these questions:

  • It is constructed of metal or plastic?
  • Does it bend in places where it shouldn’t bend?
  • Does it have parts that will rust or splinter?
  • How much does it cost and how often will it be used?

Most trimming and pruning jobs can be done with hand pruners, loppers and a folding hand saw. When shopping for cutting tools, look for tools that have these traits:

  • A sharp blade and a comfortable handle
  • A ratchet mechanism to make cutting easier
  • A safety catch

Unnecessary Planting & Weed Pulling Garden Tools

There are a number of specially designed gardening tools that perform a specific function. Gardening catalogs contain a number of one-purpose tools from pot makers to seed starting pots, hand spades designed just to plant bulbs and all kinds of gadgets that claim to make weed pulling easier. Here’s how to do the job of a few one-purpose tools with a multipurpose tool that may already be in your garden shed:

  • Use a vegetable or soup can to make seed starting pots. Roll a strip of newspaper around the can and fold the edge of the paper over the end of the can.
  • Instead of using a seed sower for small seeds, mix the seeds in sand and pour a small line of sand in the row to ensure even spacing.
  • A garden trowel can be used to plant bulbs and container-grown plants instead of a dibbler or bulb planter. Look for a trowel that has a serrated edge, measurement marks and a large comfortable handle.
  • Specialized weed pullers and slicing hoes can’t do double duty like a standard garden hoe. When weeds emerge, lightly scrape the top of the soil with a hoe to cut off the tops of the weeds. If this is done when weeds are small, it is easy to keep the weeds under control.

Gardening is fun and easy if you have the right tools. It can be a back-breaking chore when you have the wrong tools or have tools that just don’t do the job. Take the chore out of gardening by taking care of your garden tools and buying tools that are comfortable to work with and are durable enough to do the job without breaking.

Last Updated: July 8, 2012
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About Coletta Teske Coletta Teske has 25 years' experience in tech journalism, as well as home and gardening topics. She has freelanced for Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Microsoft, published more than two dozen computer books for Prima Publishing and Macmillan, and worked as a freelance correspondent for West Hawaii Today. Coletta has been an avid gardener since she was 2 years old. While living in Hawaii, she achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a certified master gardener.

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