October 29, 2013
by Blake Schreck
4 Comments

Fall Garden Tool Maintenance

Garden Tool Maintenance at Garden Tool Co.

 

OK, it’s that time of the year and every fall we (I) need a reminder to do a little garden tool maintenance.  Most of us are done or almost done gardening for the year, but before you head in to hibernate for the winter…and when I say hibernate, I mean planning next years garden and perusing all those catalogs – Clean, Sand, Sharpen and Oil your tools.

Clean – Gather all your tools, a bucket of warm water, a stiff bristle or wire brush. Start by removing most of the dirt on metal parts with the wire brush. Once you have the largest part of the dirt removed, scrub the remaining dirt with the brush and warm water…rinse well and let air dry or wipe with a towel. (men…not the nice towels)

Sand – Once dry, now is a good time to sand the wood handles. Water, whether from the hose, in the soil or from dew on a tool left out overnight  tends to raise the grain on wood, making it feel rough…so light sanding will bring it back to a nice smooth comfortable finish.

Sharpen – Nows a good time to sharpen all your tools, so they’ll be ready for next spring. Sharpening can be done with a variety of tools, but most gardeners can get away with just using good 8-12 inch flat file. This can be a dangerous operation if you don’t have the tool secured properly, so secure it in a vise if you have one, clamp it to a table or just get someone to sit on it…just make sure it’s secure before you start sharpening. Every tool blade typically has some sort of bevel on it. Just try to file it at the same angle that is already there. Too much (steep) angle will indeed make your tool very sharp, but because the leading edge is so thin, it will be subject to damage by the smallest of stones, so try to stick with the angle that is there.

Oil – Do not use any petroleum based oil on your garden tools…you’ll just be transferring that oil to your garden the next time you use that tool in your soil. Here at Garden Tool Co., we only use Boiled Linseed Oil. It’s a natural product from the seeds of the flax plant (except for the solvent used to keep it from hardening in the can…it evaporates after application) and can be used on the metal and wood parts of your tools. On the metal, it will prevent rust and will keep your wood handles from drying out and cracking. Just apply it liberally all over you tool, let it sit for about 15 minutes and then wipe off excess. Note: because of the solvents in boiled linseed oil, be sure to read the instructions on the can for rag disposal.

That’s it, you’re ready for next spring.

Please visit Garden Tool Co. if you need a garden tool sharpener.

August 10, 2013
by Anne Schreck
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Our Year of Minimalist Gardening

At our house in Fort Collins, we had four great raised beds allowing me to plant more fruits and veggies than we could possibly ever eat and then there were all of our awesome flower beds. This year, between the move to a building with rocks in all the beds, really poor soil, a broken sprinkler system and a building to renovate, I am a sad excuse for a gardener and man am I missing it.

Here in Westminster, we found the time to take the rocks out of the bed with the front and central location so that we could work on adding a bit of color in a very boring front area of plain ‘ole green plants broken up by just a few bushes with a maroon tint to the leaves. Little did we know how poor the soil was when we just added some compost as we planted each plant rather than amending the entire bed. Between that soil and the very dry weather here, we are lucky that anything we planted has lived. Even, the grasses have had trouble getting established, but at least the ice plants at the very front are thriving.

And as for fruits and veggies, I have managed to grow two containers with tomato plants and one of herbs that I bought for the picture when we decided to advertise on the back cover of Herb Quarterly. Initially, I had one cucumber plant in the bed also, but our puppy Juno decided to eat that.

Our Minimalist Gardening Effort

Our Minimalist Gardening Effort

All in all, it’s a pretty embarrassing display for the new location of Garden Tool Company which is inhabited by two people who really love to garden. I have high hopes that next year we will have the time and energy to tackle more of this boring place and get back to doing more of the gardening that we love.

July 17, 2013
by Anne Schreck
1 Comment

Creating an Awesome Space to Display the Garden Tools

First Blake painted all the plywood that he installed recently black and then the work to make it look wonderful began. He has been measuring, sawing, lining it all up with his new laser level and attaching cedar to the plywood for several days now. It is looking very nice and will be just awesome when he gets finished. Then we’ll be ready to install the floor.  Woo Hoo!

the first few rows

the first few rows

 

 

 

Blake and the cedar

Blake and the cedar

 

It's all up

It’s all up

 

July 11, 2013
by Anne Schreck
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And the Work Goes On, and On and On…

We have been so consumed with the work, that we have forgotten to do an update on our progress lately. The last few weeks have been no tradespeople and all Blake and I – mostly Blake of course. I pretty much do the tools and he does the construction of late. Anyway, here are some photos to show you a bit of what we have accomplished recently.

We are feeling pretty awesome about the progress and finally feel that there may be an end in sight. We can’t wait until we can invite everyone by to take a look see…

June 1, 2013
by Blake Schreck
1 Comment

Garden Tool Co…work in progress

Garden Tool Company

 The last time we talked about the remodeling at our new building, the fire inspector had dropped by and busted us for a little demolition work before we got our building permits. Well after 8 weeks of waiting, we did get the building permits and a lot of work has been done. We have taken some pictures, but as you can imagine, springtime at Garden Tool Co. is a pretty busy time and between the orders and the construction, we haven’t kept up with the blog.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of what’s been going on here at Garden Tool Co.

As you can see, a lot of work has been done and the inspector from Adams county has been so helpful and accommodating with our changes during the process. Still some work to do, but there’s light (and offices) at the end of the tunnel.

May 15, 2013
by Anne Schreck
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Long Handle 3-tine Weeding Fork from Sneeboer

The long 3-tine weeding fork from Sneeboer is a great tool to use if you need to break up the soil or weed in an area that is already planted without having to bend or kneel down. It features a back saving 67” handle giving you great reach into those hard to get spots around plants or under bushes.

The head is hand forged of stainless steel making it rust resistant and the handle is high quality ash from FSC  certified forests in Europe. Sneeboer garden tools have been made in the Netherlands for over 100 years and feature a lifetime guaranty.

Here is the tool being created from the forge with Frank Sneeboer to Tom engraving the finished product.

The tool begins in the forge

The tool begins in the forge

 

Frank Sneeboer at the anvil

Frank Sneeboer at the anvil

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tool head nears completion

The tool head nears completion

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom engraving the handle

Tom engraving the handle

 

April 25, 2013
by Anne Schreck
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Oh How I Miss My Garden

While I couldn’t be more excited about the growth of Garden Tool Company and the resulting move to our new building, I am sure missing my garden about now. I had some wonderful raised beds for veggies and a whole lotta flower beds that would have been bursting forth with the tulips and hyacinth about now.

tulips

Our tulips in the snow

 

Here we have some beds around the perimeter but they are filled with those darn rocks. Rocks in your beds and yard are a big thing here in Colorado, but I absolutely hate them. Sietse de Wit sent us the very last head to a rock rake and I am going to have to get to work on getting rid of them. That, or we are thinking of offering them free on Craig’s list to anyone who will come and rake them up and haul them off.

The rocks don’t even prevent weeds, but they make it harder to get them out. I have a great new DeWit weeder that I was so excited to use, but it is almost impossible to get past the buried rocks to get to the roots. Luckily, I have access to a wider variety of weeders than the average person, so there is always another one to choose from to battle this insidious problem.

DeWit drop grip weeder with fulcrum

DeWit drop grip weeder with fulcrum

 

And what boring beds they left us with. There is nothing but bushes every few feet and a few small trees, so no color whatsoever. Very minimal on the curb appeal and I can’t wait to get something nicer in the front bed especially.

But all that must wait for our weekly snows to end and who knows when that will happen. We have had May snows here and they say you should not begin your gardening until at least Mother’s Day, if not Memorial Day. Patience is not my strong suit, but what can you do?

April 6, 2013
by Anne Schreck
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Planting Bars from DeWit Handle the Toughest Soil

When we lived in Dallas near White Rock Lake, the soil was so hard and rocky, I could barely get a tool into it, so I would have loved to have the new planting bars we got to help make when we were in the Netherlands visiting with the folks at DeWit Garden Tools. The planting bars weigh just under 7 lbs and feature different heads depending on your needs. One has a point, one a chisel and one a nice curved head like a small trowel. They all feature a ball handle for a great grip and are two feet long making them just perfect for two handed digging.

These planting bars are all hand forged by the blacksmith’s at DeWit who all have many years of forging experience and they feature a lifetime guarantee. They are virtually impossible to bend or break. So if you think your soil is tough, just wait until you tackle it with one of these bad boys. Whether it is clay, compacted soil, rocks or roots, you and the bars will win every battle.