Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winter Tool Cleaning

Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes are opening up all around the states as October races toward climax. The fall harvest is being danced like a strange waltz by joyful gardeners stepping in time to the rhythm of this cinnamon scented season. When the last drops of daylight are squeezed from the descending sun the dance concludes and the gardeners return to the warmth of their home to plan canning, freezing, drying and baking for the plentiful yield of fruits and vegetables that fill boxes in every empty corner of their home.

For many gardeners, the nights—which have suddenly impinged on the seven o’clock hour—are a time to plot the future course of their gardens lives. But one important task remains, and it may be the difference between a successful growing season next year and a weed infested mania. The wary gardener should cast a suspicious glance toward his tool shed before forgetting where the enemy lurks.

Weeds, the harbinger of doom, water guzzling, nutrient thieves, are hiding in plain sight, inside every gardener’s tool shed. Like vegetables, weeds have a rhythm. Fall is the time to send seeds coasting through the air to find fertile soil for next season’s growth opportunity. While the trowel was buried in the soil, digging up a potato, he was also playing host to a panoply of seedy, weedy pods. Like a bumblebees legs, the trowel is an excellent vehicle for new soils to be pollinated. So, instead of washing his hands clean, an alert gardener might want to take the last few weeks of warm weather to eradicate the enemy from the safety of the tool shed’s environment.

The best and fastest way to kill weed pods is to dip the groundside end of every tool in a dilute bleach solution. Two parts bleach to ten parts water will be sufficiently strong to kill any weed pods. The gardener should be certain to cover the head and top quarter of a tool’s handle in the solution for the best effect. While such precautions may seem obsessive to many gardeners, these precautions may be the difference between a rich garden environment next April, and an arduous spring on the knees, plucking weed shoots.

Every gardener who chooses to utilize the weed pod killing method should make a note to himself to rinse the tools in the spring before returning to till the ground. Over the winter, all weed pods on the tool will have died, either from the bleach or the freeze. With the advent of spring, the traces of bleach should be rinsed off the tool before plunging into the soil. It is hard to gear up for the long winter, and there is no better way to do so than to go to bed at night with dreams of a weed-free garden birthing to life in next spring’s warm air.

About the Author
Jody Sperling is a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club.

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