Sharpening shovels

Rob D. Brodman
Tip from the test garden

Sharpening your shovels not only extends their life ― it can also make it much easier to dig through roots or in heavy soil.

1. Using a large file, with shovel facing up, rub briskly along the shovel's bottom edge at a 45° angle, filing from the left side to the tip.

Continue until a fine edge develops, then repeat on the right side.

2. If you don't plan to use the shovel right away, apply a small amount of mineral oil to a clean cloth, then wipe the newly sharpened edge to prevent rust from forming. Wipe off before using.

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