Joel In The Garden

Last-minute fall garden projects

Last-minute fall garden projects »Play Video

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EUGENE, Ore. — From your tools to your garden plot, it's easy to neglect both over the next few months.

As the days turn colder, many gardeners hang up their tools for the winter. For some, it's a bit unintentional. 

“People never use it for the last time,” Marvin Cowley said. “They always think, well, I'll need it one more time. Then the weather turns and they never use it. And one month becomes two months and it never gets done.”

Cowley is the owner of All Seasons Equipment in Eugene. The hardware supplier is handling a number of repair calls for both lawnmowers and chainsaws. Cowley says the biggest issue they see is with leftover fuel left in the tank.

“In the past five or six years, we've told people to drain the gas out and leave it dry for the winter,” Cowley said. “They problem with that is, your diaphragm and your carburetor dries out and other problems.”

Meanwhile, if you want to keep a sharp edge, Cowley says that's something you can easily tackle in your own garage.

“We recommend they learn to touch up the chain themselves a few times and then bring it in once in a while to have it sharpened professionally,” Cowley said.

Besides keeping your tools sharp, it also pays to keep a sharp eye. For instance, in this strawberry patch, I found a few unwelcome party crashers, such as some invasive blackberries. Those, you should try to pull out by the root, but make sure you're wearing thick gloves.

To keep away any other unwanted pests, you can add some pine needles to use as ground mulch. Pine needles contain a bit of acid. And strawberries like a bit more acidic soil. The pine needles will also insulate the plant roots and hold in moisture. A few ways you can stay busy even as winter approaches.

Cowley says January and February are typically slow months for equipment repair, so you may get your tools fixed even more quickly.