If you don’t plan to plant a fall garden, inspect, repair and clean your gardening tools before storing them for the winter.“As a gardener, nothing is more frustrating than to pull gardening tools out in the spring and find hoes that are rusty or broken, a tiller that won’t crank, or an irrigation system with a blown gasket,” said Bob Westerfield, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist.Tony Johnson, the horticulturist at the UGA Research and Education Garden in Griffin, Ga., agrees. Johnson helps UGA scientists maintain their research plots. And he does so on a limited state budget.“Gardening tools and supplies are expensive,” Johnson said. “With a little care and forethought, you can help your tools last from season to season.”The two UGA professional gardeners offer the following checklist to follow before packing away garden tools for the winter.Shovels, hoes and other tools* Thoroughly clean all tools with soap and water.* Sharpen blades and tool edges.* Clean metal parts with steel wool, wipe dry and apply a light coat of cooking oil.* Smooth wooded handles by sanding them with sand paper. Then coat handles in linseed oil or paint them to preserve wood.* Store rakes with the teeth pointing down. Stepping on an exposed rake can be very dangerous, for children and adults.Tomato cages* Clean off tomato cages and stack them out of the way.* Repair any cages that have been damaged.Tiller and mower* Empty the garden tiller of fuel or add a fuel stabilizer.* Check the spark plugs, change the oil and clean the air filter.* Clean the underside of the mower’s deck with a pressure washer and scrape off any old grass and debris.Irrigation* Drain irrigation lines. Clean and inspect lines for cracks before rolling up. (Store these out of the sun in a shed or garage.)* To keep insects from hibernating in hoses, connect hose ends.* Do not hang hoses directly on a nail. The weight of the hose will create permanent kinks. Nail a coffee can or other round form on the wall and then roll the hose around the form.* Inspect and lightly lubricate sprinkler heads.* Clean and dry out the water timer.Sprayers* Fertilizer or pesticide sprayers should be triple-rinsed with water or a little ammonia. * Check the hose tip for debris before storing the sprayer for the season.
“I’m looking to improve our focus, our intensity, our desire to win – those things, I think, trumped everything else today,” McAlpine said after the loss to Washington. After dropping two of its last three games, the No. 11 USC women’s soccer team is looking to get back on track this week when it travels north to take on the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers. With three league losses, USC has now lost more conference games this season than any other season since 2014. Considering USC ranked as high as No. 2 in the preseason, the team will undoubtedly be looking for revenge in its the next couple games. When USC faces the Ducks, it will have to keep its attention on Oregon sophomore star forward Jordan Wormdahl. Wormdahl leads the Ducks with seven goals on the season. History will be on the Trojans’ side when they travel to Oregon. USC has won its last six matches against the Ducks, including a 5-0 win last year. USC has enjoyed similar luck against Oregon State. The Trojans have won their last five matchups against the Beavers and beat Oregon State 5-0 last season. Oregon and Oregon State may be in the bottom half of the Pac-12 standings, but the Trojans know how good Pac-12 is through and through. Along with Collins, McAlpine will rely on USC’s two star forwards, junior Tara McKeown and sophomore Penelope Hawking, to put pressure on Oregon’s defense. The duo has scored 29 of the team’s 33 goals and accounted for 59 of USC’s 97 total points. Although the Ducks and Beavers have a combined three wins in Pac-12 play this season, USC has struggled in the past with playing at the top of its game against weaker opponents. In Pac-12 losses to Cal and Washington, head coach Keidane McAlpine has echoed the team’s lack of competitiveness and intensity. The Trojans have struggled keeping stars out of the back of the net this season. Redshirt junior goalie Kaylie Collins has posted three shutouts this season and hopes to return to Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year form after only recently returning to the field from injury. USC will rely on Collins to shut down Wormdahl on Thursday. “It’s one of those games that reminds you how good our league is,” McAlpine told USC Athletics. “Our league is phenomenal this year. Our league has some great coaches, a lot of great talent, and if they don’t bring the proper level of energy and intensity and focus to the game, then it’s gonna be a long day.” Junior forward Tara McKeown passes the ball downfield during the Trojans’ game against Washington State last Thursday. (Edison Liu / Daily Trojan) With only three games left in Pac-12 play before the NCAA Tournament, the Trojans will need another dominant weekend in order to have momentum when they visit Westwood to face UCLA next weekend. USC faces Oregon Thursday night at 7 at Pape Field in Eugene. The Trojans dropped four spots in the national poll this week after being shut out 2-0 by unranked Washington Sunday at home. The loss marked USC’s first scoreless game at home this season. According to McAlpine, last weekend served as a reminder that no matter the ranking, any team can beat any other in league play.