The wooden handles of rakes, hoes and shovels need maintenance as well. Over time, the wood will dry out and begin to splinter. You can ensure the wooden handles of your garden tools don't ever do this by sanding the handles with medium grade sandpaper (100 grit) and then rubbing the handle with linseed oil. You can do this anytime of the year, but it provides extra value when you are putting your tools away for the winter. Cold air tends to draw moisture out of the wood so the extra protection provided by the linseed oil keeps the handles from drying out and splintering.
Gardening books or magazines will give you lots of innovative ideas about things you can do to maintain your gardening tools. Things like putting your long handled tools into a capped plastic pipe filled with linseed oil or storing your digging tools head down in a bucket of sand that's had a quart of old motor oil poured in. Undoubtedly these ideas will work, but when you think about it, all you're trying to do is prevent the handles from drying out and the metal from rusting. You don't really need to go to those extremes, just follow the basic ideas we've talked about here, and you'll be working with your garden tools for years to come.
These are some of the common maintenance tips to extend the life of garden tool, however you should ensure that the edges of the tools are sharpened so that you feel comfortable while gardening. Well-maintained garden tools will have extended life and at the same time you will enjoy frustration free gardening.