Main Melinda Myers Page >> Cleaning Tools


Nationally renowned garden expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moments television segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 25 years of horticulture experience. Viewers from across the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative! On this page, Melinda shares some more extensive garden tips, which expands on the information provided in her one-minute TV segments.

Melinda’s Garden Moments Garden Tips!

New tips will be added throughout the growing season, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! To view online streaming video of Melinda’s Garden Moments, visit This Webpage

Cleaning Tools

Are your tools covered with dirt and rust? Clean, sharp, quality tools can the difference between drudgery and efficiency. Take advantage of raining afternoons or the off-season to keep your tools in good shape. I’m talking about cleaning and sharpening.
Let’s start with shovels, a tool every gardener uses. Use a wire brush to remove any caked on soil or lots of rust. Once you’ve broken through that first layer of dirt use the steel wool to finish cleaning.
Cleaning does take some time and sweat - but it’s a great way burn off calories. Once clean, give your shovel a nice sharp edge. Use a three-sided file to bevel the edge so it moves smoothly through the soil.
Turn it over and remove any burrs that form on the backside. Use steel wool to clean and smooth the edge. With proper care your tools will probably last much longer than some of those perennials you put in your garden.
Just a Bit More Information: Save yourself a lot of work by cleaning your tools after each use. Wash off excess soil with a strong blast of water from the garden hose. Dry with a cloth rag or an old pair of cotton socks headed for the recycling bin.
Consider enlisting some additional help when the rust is more than your wire brush can handle. Check out some of the new environmentally friendly rust removers. Or follow the lead of your fellow gardeners who use undiluted white distilled vinegar. Soak rusty tools in a bucket overnight, wipe tools clean and dry before using or storing
Invest in a vise to secure tools to your work station or tool bench while cleaning. The vise holds them in place allowing you to safely clean and sharpen. If nothing else, it is a good excuse for building your tool collection while keeping your existing tools in better shape.

For more gardening tips, podcasts and more, visit

About Melinda Myers

Melinda Myers, best known for her gardener friendly and practical approach to gardening, has more than 25 years of horticulture experience in both hands-on and instructional settings. She has a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in horticulture from University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a certified arborist, and was a horticulture instructor with tenure.

Outside the classroom, Melinda shares her expertise through a variety of media outlets. She has written 20 books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening, and the Birds & Blooms’ Ultimate Gardening Guide. She hosts “Great Lakes Gardener,” seen on PBS stations throughout the United States, and “Melinda’s Garden Moments”, which air on network television stations throughout the country. She appears regularly as a guest expert on various national and local television and radio shows. She also writes the twice monthly “Gardeners’ Questions” newspaper column and is a contributing editor and columnist for Birds & Blooms and Backyard Living magazines. In addition, she hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20 years.

For her work, community service and media presence, Melinda has received recognition and numerous awards, including the 2003 Garden Globe Award for radio talent and the Quill and Trowel Award for her television work, both from the Garden Writers Association. She has also received the Garden Communicator’s Award from the American Nursery and Landscape Association and the Gold Leaf Award for Arbor Day from the International Society of Arboriculture.

For more information, visit Myers’ web site The site features regularly updated garden tips, podcasts, a garden club, e-newsletter, books, appearance information, “Great Lakes Gardener” television schedule and more.

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