This question seems only accidentally related to gardening. In general, I would imagine tool and tool repair questions would be better asked at the Home Improvement site.

There are tool-related questions that would be better asked here, such as whether one tool or another are better for some gardening task or questions in which the gardening aspect of the question is the most important aspect of the question.

Or am I being too picky?

(The distinction between this question and this one is that I think the question would be fine except that the Home Improvement site exists and might give better answers.)


Home Improvement was always going to have a lot of overlap in these sorts of areas. I think that provided the tools are generally considered appropriate gardening tools, the questions are best answered by gardeners and belong here.

It'll start to get hazy when you have tools that are used both for gardening and home improvement, but I think these cases will be rare, and should hopefully be obvious when they do happen.

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    I guess my problem with the question I link to is that it didn't seem to matter if a group of gardeners or a group of tool geeks answered the question. I was hoping that there would be information about, for instance, the negative effects of paint chips on plants or soil. But no. The question was about the tools themselves. – Jon Ericson Jun 9 '11 at 0:03
  • @Jon - you hit the nail on the head...so to speak. I voted to close. – wax eagle Jun 9 '11 at 2:07
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    Don't you think that gardening tools have to survive different conditions than other tools though? In the majority of home improvement activities your tools are kept dry and you work indoors. Gardening is a different environment with a different toolset. I think the specific question about how to avoid gardening tools from rusting are most relevant and answerable by other gardeners. – Paul Turner Jun 9 '11 at 8:12

Most gardening books have sections on tool maintenance, selection and repair. I figured it was appropriate to ask here, although it probably could have floated on DIY.

It wasn't really about how to keep it from rusting, it was about the appropriateness of painting tools. I was kind of wondering whether or not painting the points of tools is a good idea. A. Because it will just wear off and remain in the soil and B. Because it would make the sharp point rather less sharp. I didn't ask that in the question because I figured someone would put that in their answer and I didn't want to draw out only the answers I could figure out on my own.

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    I got the sense you were asking a gardening specific question, at least in the sense of what harmful effect painting tools might have on your plants, but the answers seemed entirely uninterested in that aspect. It was the answers, more than the question, that seemed off topic. (But a good, on-topic question will be more likely to generate on-topic answers.) – Jon Ericson Jun 9 '11 at 17:28
  • @Jon, yeah that is the general trend on stack exchange sites. – Peter Turner Jun 9 '11 at 17:34
  • "Most gardening books have sections on ..." -- I think that's probably another good criteria for determining on-topicness. If it's the kind of subject matter that would feel appropriate in a book on gardening, landscaping, lawn maintenance (etc), then it should be an appropriate question to ask here. – nicholas a. evans Jun 10 '11 at 15:39

I disagree that this question should have been closed. Questions related to owning, using and/or maintaining the tools used to garden and landscape should be on topic in gardening and landscaping Q and A.

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    Yeah, I agree, I don't want to get to polemic about it. But I think if I read about it in a gardening book and was looking for more advice then this would be the very natural place to turn. I'll do some minor edits with the suggestions above. – Peter Turner Jun 10 '11 at 15:25

Personally, if I am looking for options on watering, tilling, weeding, lifting, digging I want to hear from gardeners and landscapers as opposed to migrating to the land of electricity and plumbing and appliance repair to get a less targeted response.

  • However, tools should fall under a more general equipment tag that includes things like fertilizers and compost bins and rain barrels and other supplies. The means of gardening and landscaping are important to the site.

Why would the people in Home Improvement have any opinions about garden tools? And if they do, would they care as much about special gardening considerations (e.g. paint leeching into the soil)?

  • There is a gardening question there. Just not as it was asked. – wax eagle Jun 10 '11 at 15:49

I would probably say that it belongs on the home improvement site because the gist of the question is: "how do I prevent this from rusting?". It is not in any way related to the art/science of gardening.

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    That was my feeling too. Not a bad question, but one that only tangentially intersects with gardening. – Jon Ericson Jun 9 '11 at 0:00
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    I'm not sure about this. The whole reason we would worry about garden tools rusting is because they are outside a lot. For example, I don't ever worry about my hammer rusting. However, my shovel and wheelbarrow are very prone to this. I'm sure there are non-garden tools that are prone to rust damage too, but I'm having a hard time thinking of any. Maybe because I don't have as many of those? ;) – Shane Jun 10 '11 at 17:30
  • @Shane: You do make a good point. I guess it's all in how the question is worded. One has to think of whether a random Googler interested in gardening would have any interest in the question. Although the question is about a problem that gardeners face, the first version read more like a general question for DIY whereas after the edit, it looks a lot more like a gardener's question – Lorem Ipsum Jun 10 '11 at 17:45

I think questions about garden tools, usage, maintenance etc should be allowed here.

To say that they should be migrated to diy is like saying a question about stopping cats crapping on my borders should be migrated to pets.stackexchange.com. OK the question might technically be about a non-plant object (cat, fork, mower) but it's a gardening problem and expert answers are most likely to come from a community of gardeners.

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    I think that's a false analogy. Let me tell you about the person I'd most like to get an answer from here: the head gardener of the Huntington (which is near where I work in Pasadena). He or she would have all the answers I'd ever need about gardening and landscaping. And they would also know more than I could ever hope to know about tool maintenance. But such an expert also has a team of people to take care of their tools and it would be an insult to ask them about tool rather than about, for instance, my prize orchids. In the beta stage, it's important to find those sorts of experts. – Jon Ericson Jun 10 '11 at 17:02

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