By Lisa Marie Conklin
Old man winter can wreak havoc on your patio furniture and garden goods. Winter’s moisture can lead to rust, and freezing temps can make things brittle and crack. These simple steps will keep everything fresh and ready to go again in the spring!
Don’t Be a Crack Pot
Terracotta, plastic, glass or ceramic pots should all be emptied of soil before you store them. If you live in a climate that sees freezing temps, this is especially important. When the moist soil freezes, it expands and creating cracks in your posts. In addition, bits of plants and leftover soil can harbor bacteria and affect the plants you pot next year. Give the pots a good scrub with a bleach and water solution of 10 parts water to 1 part chlorinated bleach. Terracotta is porous and will need an extra soak in plain water for an additional 10 minutes.
Anti-Aging for Gardening Tools
Storing dirty gardening tools ages them quickly. Quality garden tools will make chores like pruning a breeze if you keep them clean and oiled. Before storing tools for winter, it’s essential to get rid of all the dirt on the tools as dirt soaks up moisture which leads to rust. Lay the tools on the ground and use a high-pressure nozzle to hose them down. Use a bristle brush to remove caked on dirt. Dry with a cloth or let them air dry. Sharpen the tools with a hand file and use a soft rag with a bit of linseed oil to prevent rust and the moving parts lubricated. Wooden handles will benefit from a bit of linseed oil to prevent cracking and chipping.
Packing up Patio Furniture
The beautiful patio furniture that was lovingly used all summer will be back in all it’s splendor next spring with a little care and proper protection from the elements. Metal furniture usually comes standard with a durable, powder coated finish to withstand the elements. Wash it and apply an automotive wax for extra protection. Wrought iron furniture is susceptible to rust. By the end of the summer, it probably has a bit already. Use a wire brush to gently remove the rust and spray the area with spray paint made specifically for wrought iron. Cover furniture with a heavy-duty tarp until spring. Plastic furniture should be cleaned and stored inside if possible, as it tends to get brittle and crack in cold weather. Wicker should be stored in a cool, dark place but touch up any flaking paint first. Synthetic wicker is safe to stay outside but covering with a trap offers extra protection.
You Got a Little Somethin’ Somthin’ on Your Cushion
Eating outside is favorite summer pastime but we know there’s a few BBQ stains on those cushions you don’t want to see next spring. Wash them according to the guide on the label. For removable fabric covers, wash and while they are still damp, stretch over the form so they’ll fit correctly when dry. Store cushions inside but don’t put them in a plastic bag as it will create moisture and mildew. If space is limited in the garage or basement, consider a stand alone resin chest specifically for outside use. Umbrellas need a bit more care. After cleaning it, let it dry completely and lubricate all the switches and pivots. Store in a closed position.
We know it’s a buzz kill to say goodbye to summer but in a few hours time, you’ll have your winterization chores done. When spring rolls around, all you’ll have to do is uncover the goods and enjoy! Did you think we forgot about winterizing the grill? We got it covered.
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com and www.dreamstime.com