Your garden may be about ready for a long winter’s nap, but your work isn’t done.Don’t forget to tuck your gardening tools into bed for the winter, too. A little bit ofattention now will reap rewards of years of good service from gardening tools.It’s hard to know when to call the gardening season quits in some years. Just when wethink we’ve mowed the lawn for the last time, a couple of weeks of mild temperatures bringback the green blades of grass. Newly planted flowers, trees and shrubs should be wateredthoroughly every week or so until the cold really sets in, especially if rainfall isscarce.As cold or freezing temperatures come, prepare your tools by giving them a thoroughcleaning. Those steel wool barbecue-grill scrubbing pads are great for removing caked-onsoil from shovels, hoes, trowels and spades.Scrub the blades and handles with soap and water. Allow them to dry completely beforestoring. Rub a little linseed oil or similar protector over wood handles to keep the woodfrom drying and splitting. Sharpen your tools now to ensure a quick start in spring.Drain water from garden hoses and sprinklers. Hang them to dry before coiling the hosesfor storage. Replace washers and repair leaks. Hoses left outdoors during the winter couldcrack and split, especially if they still have water inside.Rinse and dry your fertilizer/pesticide spreader and oil all moving parts. Rinsesprayers and allow them to drip dry before storing. The best way to dispose of unusedchemicals in the sprayer is to apply the product as directed on the label.Store unused pesticides in their original containers with the label intact. Place allpesticides away from children and pets, either in a locked cabinet or on a shelf at leastfour feet off the ground. Protect pesticides from freezing temperatures and excessiveheat.When you think your lawn has seen its last mowing this year, run your mower until it isout of fuel. Changing the mower’s spark plug and sharpening the blade now will save yousome time next spring. Some products are now available to help stabilize fuel so it can bestored over winter, but I still recommend you drain it or use up the leftover fuel.Use up or drain fuel from the garden tiller before storing. If your equipment has a4-cycle engine, drain and replace the crankcase oil. Clean the machine by scraping offmatted grass and wiping off accumulated oil. Lubricate moving parts as the manufacturerdirects.Now you can finally relax and enjoy the fruits of your gardening labor. Curl up next tothe fireplace with your favorite gardening catalog and order new plants for spring. Andread the many gardening publications from your county Extension Service agent.