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Ahhh, Fall – that wonderful time of the year. The temperatures are dropping and it’s wonderful for working outside. The leaves start changing colour and just by looking around, you can see everything starting to get ready for the coming Winter. Now is the time to start tucking your yard in for the Winter.
The Garden Harvests have slowed down somewhat, but we’re still digging up potatoes, perhaps pulling off the last of the ripe tomatoes and grabbing the squash before the frosts start coming.
It’s time – time to start putting the Garden to bed for the wintertime. Winter is a period of rest. For us Food Gardening fanatics, it’s a time of standing back and gazing upon all those jars of canned goods now sitting on your pantry shelf.
Our Cold Room is filling up, not only with surplus jars of canned Tomato Sauce, Green Beans and Beets, but also sacks of Potatoes, Onions and Garlic. We should be well supplied for the entire Winter and well into next Spring.
Time to sit down now and have a bit of a rest. We’ve all earned that extra cup of tea and relax time now. There is still lots to do, but the hurried pace has slowed a bit.
5 Things we do each Fall:
Pick Stuff Up!
We can get a LOT of snow so it is crucial to start picking “things” up. We have a (bad) habit of leaving things out during the Summer. Shovels, hoes, pitchforks, they can all be found either laying in the Garden or leaned up against various fences depending on where they were used last.
If we don’t pick things up in the Fall, there is a chance we will not see them again until Spring. Once the snow flies things disappear pretty quick around here. So, we walk around and gather up all our tools.
Clean and Maintain our Tools:
Shovels, hoes and the like will benefit from a good cleaning. Dip a cloth in some used motor oil and wipe your tools with it. This will help keep the tools from rusting. Now is a great time to sharpen shovels and hoes.
Gather up all your garden hoses, irrigation timers and the like. Store your hoses under cover and bring the timers and manifolds into the house to keep them there over Winter.
Store the yard lighting and ornaments:
If you live in deep snow areas, be sure to gather up all your yard lights. We have a lot of Solar Lights in our yard and I make sure they all get brought up to the house to be stored, at least for awhile.
Sometimes in February, I will put them back out, setting them into the snow. I like to wait until I think the majority of snow has fallen. With all the snow shoveling we do around our home, I don’t want the extra work of having to dig the solar lights out of the snow!
Rake the Lawn:
Raking the lawn area to get rid of the dried thatch is a good idea now, if you have the time. Giving the lawn one last mow is also on the list – it will help your lawn get off to a better start next Spring.
Cut back the Perennials:
When your Perennial flowers start dying back, it is a good time to cut them down close to the ground. Some people like to leave this job until the Spring and it certainly can provide some Winter interest to see the heads of grasses or dried Hydrangeas covered with snow.
Whether you do this job now or in Spring, the steps are the same – cut back your Perennial plants almost to the ground, remove the debris and add it to your Compost pile. Come Spring, these plants will send up new growth and be healthy and blooming within a few months.
Trim any Shrubs that need it. Trim just above a leaf set and if the stems are quite sturdy, you can use these to make a teepee around more fragile Perennials. Just push them into the ground and add lots of leaves or straw to the teepee for extra protection.
In the next post, I’ll concentrate on the Vegetable and Fruit Gardens, as well as compost piles. Pop over here to read the next installment of Tucking Your Garden in for Winter.
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