A long time ago, I read somewhere that it was good to keep a bucket filled with sand and a quart of motor oil in the garden shed so you could clean your shovels and spades. I did it for one season and then forgot that the bucket of sand contained oil and used the sand in the driveway for grit during the winter. It was a mess at the bottom of the bucket and a pain in the neck to dispose of.
Now, because I’m more aware of soil-borne plant viruses, I’m more careful about keeping my shovels and spades and garden forks clean on a daily basis. I remembered the old oil and sand in the bucket method, but I wasn't crazy about using motor oil on my garden implements, I found it is just as easy to hose off the shovels and spades and garden forks after each use.
A couple times a season, I get out a file and put a new edge on the shovels and spades. I know it’s time for a new edge when I find it’s difficult to start a hole or edge the walks. This process also works if I find nicks in the tool from hitting rocks or other objects while I’m digging. (I did this over the weekend when it was too hot to do any work in the garden.)
At the end of the season, I clean the tools like normal and then use a wire brush to get off any rust spots. I then give them a little spritz of WD40 for a protective coating before hanging them in the garage for the winter.
That's how shovel and spade care happens at Auntie K's Garden, what works best in your garden?