Have you had your lawn mower and other mechanical tools such as whipper snippers, chain saws and hedge trimmers serviced yet this winter?
Spring will be here and everything will be growing again before we know it, so it's time to get that job ticked off and get them cleaned and sharpened so you are ready for action.
Winter is also the ideal time to check your other gardening tools and equipment.
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Most tools wear out from neglect rather than use; if you look after good tools well, they will last a lifetime. Remove caked mud from shovels, spades, forks, hoes and trowels and rub the metal parts with an oily rag or spray with WD40 or similar. Rub wooden handles with linseed oil to stop them drying out and splitting and remove any splinters with coarse sandpaper. Stainless steel tools don't need much more than a quick wash after use but they do cost more.
Possibly the most important thing about maintaining your tools is to put them away after you have finished - it is infuriating to discover they have been run over because they were left lying on the ground where they were last used! This is a great job for those of us who prefer to be out of doors even when the weather is bitter outside!
Also check electrical tools are safe and properly insulated and have any damaged power cords replaced.
To help ensure strong, healthy flowers of spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, jonquils and tulips, fertilise the foliage when the leaves are getting close to their full height. Use a foliar fertiliser that you spray onto the leaves. There are some types that you can attach to the end of the hose and the pressure of the water regulates the amount of fertiliser without you having to do any mathematics at all!
Continue cutting back any late autumn flowering perennials whose seed heads no longer add sufficient interest to the winter garden.
Continue preparing for planting bare-rooted deciduous trees and shrubs while they are dormant; water them in well.
Continue preparing beds for spring planting; dig in plenty of compost and manure / fertiliser.
The next meeting of the Armidale Garden Club is on Thursday, August 26 at the Uniting Church Youth Club Hall, commencing at 7pm and everyone is most welcome.
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