The 10-minute job to make gardening easier all spring

Experts reveal why cleaning and sharpening your gardening tools is worth every minute of work

small garden trowel among daffodils
(Image credit: Getty images / Yulia Naumenko)

Gardening experts have revealed the 10-minute job to make gardening easier this springtime. They advise us to take a break from sowing seeds, pruning roses, and raking lawns this weekend in order to give our gardening tools some much-needed attention.

Not only does knowing how to clean rusty tools and sharpen secateurs keep them in top condition, but it also prevents the spread of pests and makes gardening more straightforward.

small garden trowel among daffodils

(Image credit: Getty images / Megan Miks / EyeEm)

Cleaning and sharpening tools

Garden retailer Primrose tells us that it's important to clean our garden tools regularly so that they last as long as possible. 'Before you start your garden preparation, soak your gardening tools in water and vinegar to remove any rust,' suggests Primrose. 

'By the time you’ve finished the afternoon of garden preparation, simply rinse, rub in linseed oil and hang up to dry.' Cleaning your tools in this way should only take ten minutes, and it has numerous benefits, as Ruth Hayes, gardening editor of Amateur Gardening, explains.

'Keeping tools clean and sharp may feel like a bit of a faff but it is worth every minute of work,' Ruth tells us. 'Cleaning tools and removing rust helps prevent the spread of pests and diseases, especially with cutting tools that may have their blades contaminated by sticky sap.'

woman pruning a white rose with secateurs

(Image credit: Getty images / Sutthiwat Srikhrueadam)

Ruth Hayes adds that sharpening is equally important because it makes jobs safer, quicker and better for the plants. You can sharpen your best secateurs with a whetstone that's a little smaller than the kind you might use on kitchen knives.

'Sharp secateur and shears blades cut cleanly and easily, instead of "mashing" the stems,' Ruth continues. 'I even sharpen my spades and trowels so they cut through the soil like a hot knife through butter – and a sharpened hoe blade becomes a lethal instrument when used to hoe down weed seedlings!'

forget me nots being cleared with garden scissors

(Image credit: Alamy)

Taking ten minutes to give your garden tools a soak and a sharpen is clearly a job worth doing if it can prevent diseases and pests, save you money on replacements and make gardening easier and safer. Pick up a whetstone for gardening tools, available at Amazon to sharpen up blunt edges.

Millie Hurst
Millie Hurst

Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. She loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden and is always picking up new plants at the local garden center. She's never without some fresh flowers at home and her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.