GROW FOOD slow food Have your garden and eat it too. A practical guide to organic gardening in the sub-tropics with step-by-step instructions and delicious seasonal recipes. Come with me too on some of my travels in Australia, Europe, Asia and beyond.

My little town of Mullumbimby, in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, has just suffered the worst flood in living memory – with many homes lost, lives destroyed and treasured belongings chucked out on the street.

I am fortunate, along with other members of my family, to live on elevated blocks and came through without flood damage. In these last two weeks the whole community has pulled together to help each other out and do what we can to lighten the load of those most affected – and we have been very busy.

I had my first ‘normal’ day in a while at home yesterday and realised that my own place was sprouting mould and going rusty – especially my gardening tools. So I decided to do something practical and therapeutic and renovate the lot so, when I finally get back to some gardening, my tools will do the job they were intended for.

GETTING RID OF RUST ON TOOLS

TOP TIP: If you are a keen gardener, don’t waste your money on cheap tools. To be able to renovate and sharpen tools you need to be able to take them apart – cheap tools dont allow you to do that. I have had the shears and secateurs for 25 years and the loppers for 15.

TOP TIP TWO: A lot of folk say that paying good money for gardening tools is a waste because they lose them. DO WHAT DI DOES. Put REFLECTIVE TAPE around the handle of each tool. LOST IT? When it is dark – go back with a torch to the place you were working and your lost tool will shine right back at you – bingo.

What you will need

  • Old cloths – small and large.
  • White cleaning vinegar. This is the cheap stuff. Don’t use any other for this job.
  • Bucket warm, soapy water.
  • Small steel brush.
  • Pad of steel wool.
  • Place the tools overnight in a bath of cleaning vinegar. (I did take the opportunity to clean all the rusty tools I could find – why not?).
  • White vinegar – otherwise known as CLEANING VINEGAR – is what miraculously gets rid of the RUST!!
  • The next day, wash them off in a bucket of soapy water – scrubbing gunk off with a wire brush – and then finer stuff with a steel wool pad.
  • Dry them thoroughly.

SHARPENING GARDENING TOOLS

  • A SHARPENING STONE (known as a WHETSTONE)
  • A DIAMOND SHARPENER (medium)
  • A FLAT EDGED FILE – known as a BASTARD FILE
  • FINE GRADE OIL (like sewing machine oil)
  • WD40 – for drying out water in the cracks and crevasses

THIS IS HOW YOU SHARPEN FINE BLADES – like SECATEURS and SNIPPERS

TOP TIP: How to tell when the blade is sharp enough? Hold up several sheets of newspaper and see if the blade will easily slice through them – it makes a very satisfying sound as it cuts through! If not – keep going.

THIS IS HOW YOU SHARPEN THICKER BLADES – like SHEARS and LOPPERS

THERE HAS BEEN AN ADDED BONUS TO DOING THIS JOB – I finally started to sort out all of the other tools we have in the garage – a job I have been dreading since my husband died a year ago. Michael was a well known Mr Fixit, as well as being a hoarder, and I have discovered many duplicates of tools that I can pass on to folk who have lost theirs in the flood – including some of the 54 screwdrivers I have found?

(Visited 218 times, 1 visits today)