With the milkweed beds now bare and the tomatoes dying, it was time to put away our gardening tools for the winter. In late November, we gathered up wooden stakes as we cut away the dead milkweed they were tied to. The tomato cages had fallen over, and also needed to be brought in.
We also washed any remaining dirt off the shovels. It is important to remove all of the dirt from a shovel before placing it inside for winter, if not after every time you use the shovel. If the soil is not washed off, rust can form. The edge of the shovel can also become dull if clumps of soil are on it. A dull shovel is harder to push into soil with while digging. Additionally, diseases that are harmful to plants can hide in the soil clumps. If you use water to get the dirt off a shovel or other metal gardening tool, make sure to dry it off as well to further prevent rusting.
We will store all of these tools indoors until they are needed again next spring. This will keep our tools dry and prevent the lighter stakes from blowing away.