Whether your tools are brand new or were passed down from a parent, they all need to be looked after. This ensures they do the job properly and will last for many years. Regular cleaning will also help to prevent the spread of diseases in plants.
At this time of year, I inspect all the tools in the shed to ensure they will perform at their best. I sharpen any blades I have- whether on axes, secateurs, hedging shears or on lawnmowers. It is always helpful to have a few rags- old, worn cloths cut into squares – lying around the shed.
These are helpful in cleaning tools after each use which prevents them from rusting. I will also sharpen the edges of spades and shovels. This helps to get a clean sharp edge to shrub borders.
If ever I use up a container of engine oil I always keep the container. There is always a residue of oil left in the container. All you need is one or 2 drops to oil a hand tool. Of course, I recycle these containers when they are completely empty.
I take stock of what equipment I have each year. Items such as compost, seed trays, string, netting, supports and wire need to be assessed this time of year. If needed, we then buy what we require. Garden centres, which remained open during this latest lockdown, have lots of offers on at this time of year.
They have offers on compost and plant food etc this time of year. I will wash out all seed trays and pots in order to remove any debris and possible pathogens. I have some seeds left over in packs from last year which were stored in an air-tight container.
I will soon be sowing these in a heated propagator. This is basically a seed tray with a transparent lid which has an electrical heating element in the bottom. This uses the same electricity as probably a 40-watt light bulb. The slight heat given off by this element is enough to encourage more seeds to germinate and grow.
The first thing I will admit about lawnmowers is that I am not an expert! For the first cut in the spring I will first give the priming bulb a few squeezes. This will be done after I sharpen the blades. I will have first ensured the machine is filled with oil and fresh fuel. Petrol should not really be left in a lawnmower for more than 90 days.
Following from this I will give the starter cord a few pulls. If at this stage the mower doesn’t start I will swap out the spark plug and check the air filter is not too dirty. Beyond this the only real advice I can add is give it to a professional and get it serviced.