What a glorious weekend we had! Can you get better weather than that for mid-October? No way! With weather like that, it seems almost mandatory to get outside. I certainly did. While many of you may have taken to the woods to soak up some of those warm temperatures, I bet there were a few more who took the opportunity to get out into the garden. Yes, despite the summer-like temperatures during the day, the mercury still drops at night to remind us that it is Autumn and winter is on the way whether we like it or not. Now is the time to harvest the last of your crops and put the garden to bed though.

So what exactly does putting your garden to bed mean? Well, with snow around the corner, all those lovely green plants will soon be brown and shriveled or simply buried under a blanket of white. Before that happens, there are a few things you can do to get a head start on your Spring garden. If you are a new homeowner and are beginning to quake in your boots, don’t fret. It might sound daunting, but it really just involves getting your hands a little dirty and providing some haircuts all around. While there are lots of tasks that you can attack, today I present an even dozen to keep you outside for a while longer this Fall.

 

FALL MAINTENANCE FOR YOUR YARD

  • PLANT SPRING BULBS – now is the time to plant daffodils, crocuses, and lilies for a beautiful display after the months of drab white and brown
  • PLANT GARLIC – while you are at it, plant some garlic heads to keep you healthy all year through
  • DIG UP SUMMER BULBS – summer bulbs such as dahlias, canna lilies or gladioli will not withstand our Canadian winters, so if you want to enjoy them again next summer dig them up now and store them in a cool dark place for the winter

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  • CLEAN UP SUMMER ANNUALS & PERENNIALS – while a few clumps of sedum, astilbes or ornamental grasses add winter interest to a garden, leaving a mass of  dead plants til the spring just leaves you with a mess to worry about later. Get it done now!
  • DIVIDE PERENNIALS – if your hostas are huge or your phlox meanders too far afield, now is the time to divide these plants. Always use a sharp, clean blade to divide your perennials. Dividing them now means that you will have healthy plants next summer and twice as many of them!
  • RAKE LEAVES – like I need to tell you about this obvious task. Instead of bagging them all to the curb though, why not use them for mulch around your rose bushes, newly planted perennials and under bushes. Its called compost and its Free!
  • DETHATCH YOUR LAWN – while you are out there with the rake, work on dethatching your lawn. For seriously compacted lawns, aeration may be in order.
  • FERTILIZE YOUR LAWN – winter fertilizer applied in the fall will help you to see a stronger, healthier lawn next year with a few less weeds
  • RAISE THE LEVEL OF YOUR MOWER – for the last mow of the season, raise your mower blade by 1/2″. Once you are done, drain the gas from your mower and say goodbye to grass cutting for another year
  • CLEAN SHARPEN AND PUT AWAY GARDEN TOOLS – when the gardening is done, make sure that you clean your tools before you put them to bed as well. Dirty tools will spread unwanted disease to tender plants in the Spring.
  • TURN OFF THE WATER – when your plants are snug, the tools are put away and your trees and shrubs have had enough water to last them through the winter, turn your outdoor taps off. This will prevent freezing in your hose, as well as in the spigot
  • COVER YOUR AIR CONDITIONER – you won’t be needing your a/c unit for several months to come, so now is the time to give it a quick once over, then tuck a cover on it. This prevents leaves and moisture from getting into the unit and causing damages down the road

 

And that my friends, are some easy tasks around the yard to keep you outside and enjoying this glorious weather just a little bit longer. Happy Gardening!
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