The holidays are over and with the awakening of nature in view, the garden shed commands attention so that it will be perfectly prepared to take the center stage as the logistical hub for the upcoming new gardening season. The shed may for some more time during the first months of the year do its duty as garden storage space for the garden furniture, but rather sooner than later you will need some gardening tools stored in there. So why not use the time you have at your hands now to knock your garden shed into the shape it needs to support your gardening activities the best way possible? In the following article, we have gathered some suggestions and useful tips how to prepare for a new, creative and productive gardening year.
Does your garden shed need maintenance?
Choose a warm and sunny day for a thorough inspection of your garden shed. That way you will have the option to remove all things and all the clutter inside and store it outside while you can clean the shed from the inside. During and after that you can examine the walls from the inside. Cracks are normal for timber, but if they get big enough for the sun to shine through, they might also let water in. So use some sawdust or some wood chips with some water resistant wood glue to plug them from the outside as soon as the wood is dry.
Inspect for any signs of moisture and fix its cause as soon as possible. The outside walls should be well ventilated with all plants and shrubs at a safe distance. Now would be a good time to cut back deciduous shrubs from the walls of your garden shed without harming the plants.
Always remember that it is the dryness of the timber that preserves it. Timber is a natural, renewable resource that only enters back into the circle of nature when it has enough moisture to feed the organisms responsible for its degradation. So keeping the timber dry it the main priority. Of course, that is not possible with rains, storms, and fog but that´s what good wood preservatives are for. Any signs of algae, mold, fungi or lichens on the outside are a signal that water has entered the wood and these spots should be marked for cleaning and treatment as soon as the wood has dried.
Remove foliage that has been blown onto the roof, into the gutter or into any drainage on the outside. What to do with the leaves, you can find in our last chapter.
Organize the clutter in your garden shed
Depending on how much clutter has accumulated in your garden shed, respectively how much time you already had invested in your cleanup in fall, it might be a good idea to organize things that you don’t want to keep into three piles: sell, donate, toss.
Things to keep should have their fixed place in the garden shed so that you can find them quickly when you are working in the garden. One idea to organize things in your garden shed is by storing them together in categories like gardening, auto care, sports equipment, garden furniture and alike. Another idea would be to identify things, like tools, that you need most often and give them a place close to the entrance while things that are stored permanently get their place in the back or in the hanging rack under the roof.
Anyway, it might be a good idea to make some more storage space by building an additional shelf it there is space for one. Shelves are always welcome in a garden shed and you might also already have some new ideas to test out like for example drunken compost, microgreens, mushroom cultivation or whatever a passionate gardener might come across on the internet and social media during the wintertime. New ideas, new cultures, new methods often also need new tools and materials and these need storage space.
Maintaining the tools in the garden shed
If you have other tools in your garden shed than just those used for gardening, it is important to give them a place maybe above the workbench. A board for tools with hooks and pegs where you draw the shape of the tools on the wood where they belong helps you to get a quick overview of the available tools, and spares you the precious time of searching for them.
Hand tools, paint brushes, and other objects with iron can also be kept on magnetic knife holders or magnetic tool organization devices.
Give your gardening tools a clean and a sharpen! Secateurs, scissors, and knives just work easier if they are sharp, clean, and smooth-running. Also, spades, shovels, hoes, and rakes like the cleaning and some oil to prevent rust to improve their performance and increase their lifespan.
Machines like lawnmowers, chaff cutters, hedge clippers, or harrows could be tested for functionality. If you have not already done this, you should remove the fuel out of the tanks because old fuel may cause harm to the engines. Is there enough tyre pressure in the wheelbarrow? Get everything clean, functional and ready to use as soon as the gardening fever draws you into the garden around the shed.
Some things to do in the garden around your shed
Once you will have your garden shed in order, there might already be some things that can be done in the garden. You might want to take care of fences, gates, and trellis: Wood treatment and greasing or protection against rust might be necessary.
If you find a lot of dead material, foliage or even the branches of your Christmas Tree could be used for mulching. Mulching covers the earth under trees, shrubs, or vegetables inhibits weeds and feeds the organisms that make it into fertile compost, thus maintaining a living soil with an ecosystem that also helps to keep pests at bay.
If you have badly placed deciduous shrubs, now might be a good time to move them to a better place. Try to keep as much of the root ball as possible and cut back the branches as well so that root capacity and green parts above the ground will regain a balance.
Also, new trees, fruit trees, or berries of all kinds can be planted now as long as they are dormant to make your stay in the garden around the shed not only worthwhile but also a source of fresh and healthy organic snacks next summer and fall.