We have spoken about your hands being your most important garden tools but of course you need others to help you do what needs to be done. There is a great deal to be said about how to care for spades and forks etc. including general maintenance tips, but one quick one for today is this.

I have a fire bucket hidden at the back of my containers in which I have river sand which has been mixed with a little boiled linseed oil (you know, the same oil we used to use to care for cricket bats way back when). Add enough oil, but the sand must not be wet. I would guess you will find boiled linseed oil in a hardware store near you, or even in the in the big chain stores.

At the end of every day's use, rinse off the soil/mud and dry them then plunge them into your bucket. The oil will keep them from rusting (if this is possible) and the sand will keep them sharp. Remember here, we are talking about oily soil, not soil soaked in oil. When you want to use them again, there should be hardly any oil residue.

Anyway, it used to be fashionable to use old car oil, drained and obtained from your local service garage. DON'T. This will introduce petroleum into your soil. I am not sure which is worse ... cigarette butts or car oil!

Lestie Mulholland
Container Gardening Editor

Contain your Delight - it's easy!