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How to Take Care of Your Farm Tools

Using quality tools on your farm involves necessary and sometimes costly investments. We can all agree that the right tool can tremendously speed up your work, saving both time and money. How to take care of your farm tools is just as important as finding the right tools for your farm. However, many other priorities of farming can often distract us from maintaining upkeep as a regular activity. Here are some principles to keep in mind on how to take care of your farm tools

Store Your Tools Properly

It's not uncommon to find hoes or rakes left abandoned on the side of a building. / Credit : Caroline Cloutier
It’s not uncommon to find hoes or rakes left abandoned on the side of a building. / Credit: Caroline Cloutier

This one might be obvious for some of you out there, but truly, when visiting farms, it’s not uncommon to find hoes or rakes left abandoned on the side of a building or even worse, left flat in tall grasses, making them impossible to find. If tools are left out – particularly in rain or moist conditions – rust can seep in and cause problems that impact how well they will work. In many cases, you’ll end up having to buy something you already had, which wastes money that could have gone towards other farm investments. 

But even worse, searching for a lost tool can cause a lot of havoc and frustration. Moods can quickly sour if you lose ten minutes looking for a missing tool in the midst of a busy day – certainly we can all relate to that. 

“A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place.” Jean-Martin Fortier loves this old adage and it’s something he preaches to his farm crew. In French it’s referred to as mise en place and it’s pretty self-explanatory: find a place to properly store each tool, assign an individual place for each tool and make sure that after each day, those tools are going back to their specific place. That’s it! 

This system allows you to always know where things are and will guide you or your team to properly take care of your farm tools. Make this a priority – according to Jean-Martin, it will help. 

In addition, consider these two storage tips: 

Keep Your Tools Clean and Develop a Service Schedule

Maintaining your tools is just as important as it is to store them. / Credit : Alex Chabot.
Maintaining your tools is just as important as it is to store them. / Credit: Alex Chabot.

Maintaining your tools is just as important as it is to store them – taking the time to regularly inspect and take care of your farm tools will allow your investments to last much longer. To help ensure that yours stay in great condition over long-term use, consider the following suggestions and integrate cleaning and service tasks into your farm schedule:

Keep Your Blades Sharp

Use sharp tools! / Credit : Alex Chabot
Use sharp tools! / Credit: Alex Chabot

Use sharp tools! One huge way to easily compromise your efficiency is by using dull or semi-broken equipment – plus, it’s also a major safety hazard! If your tools aren’t sharp enough or aren’t working properly, you could accidentally hurt yourself or waste precious time doing basic tasks such as trimming and harvesting. Sharpen any tools that are used to cut/harvest, including our favorite knife, the Opinel no.10. Here are some general tips: 

Overall, keep in mind, while none of this should take too long, taking care of your farm tools is an integral component of building sustainability practices for your farm. Whether it’s tool maintenance or approaches to your production, considering how basic tasks can affect your efficiency can really help to make some major differences for your long-term success. Remember, maintaining your tools is just as important as buying the right tools for your farm!

If you’re interested in reading more of our articles about tools (and many other topics!), check out the Market Gardener ‘Tool’ section of our blog. If you want to learn more about how Jean-Martin sets up his toolshed and all of his other farm management strategies, join the Market Gardener Masterclass.

The Masterclass is an online course that teaches the most effective and proven techniques to successfully operate a diversified small-scale farm. They will guarantee you consistent results, as well as help you make the most of your valuable time and keep your body in shape for years to come.