January, 2012
Regional Report

Prepare Pond for Winter

Remove debris like leaves, dead branches, and other plant parts from the water. Pulling a sturdy plastic leaf rake across the top will pick up some debris. Carefully raked deeper and pull leafy clumps to the pond edge, then lift out the muck with buckets, snow shovels, garden shovels -- whatever works. Put the decomposing material on the nearest garden bed.

Clean, Check, Store Pump Mechanical Parts

Remove and clean pond pump. Check electrical cord for breaks or fraying. Rinse accumulated dirt and trapped particles from water filters. Check that all parts are intact and working. Store pump, filters, electric cords and instruction manual together.

Clean and Store Hand Tools

Bring your tools indoors to shed, basement, or garage. Rinse soil and dirt from metal and wooden parts of shovels, trowels, cultivators, garden forks, rakes. Scrub blades and handles free of persistent dirt using a pot scrubber or rough-sided cleaning sponge.

Give Your Tools TLC

Well-cared-for tools are a pleasure to use year-after-year. To help preserve them, hand sand the handles smooth, if necessary, to remove splinters and loose pieces. Wipe wooden handles with linseed oil several times to allow oil to be absorbed into the wood's pores. Sharpen shovel edges and pruning tools. Store shovels, hoes, garden forks in oiled sand (I use motor oil) to retard rust and retain sharp edges.

Store Motorized Tools Properly

Empty gasoline from tillers, blowers, chain saws, edgers, weeders. Siphon to remove as much fuel as possible. Store excess gasoline and gas/oil mixes in a safe, durable, commercially-made fuel canister. Run your machine till it stops. That ensures there's no fuel left in the lines to gum up over winter.

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