The days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are getting chillier, which most likely means you'll be spending less and less time outside. But before you abandon the outdoors and hibernate for the Winter, tackle these 10 essential tasks to ready your yard for the change of season.
- Mulch. Before the first freeze, clean up perennial beds, give them a thorough soaking, and then spread a generous layer of mulch to protect them through the long Winter.
- Store hoses. If hoses are left on outdoor spigots, they can cause the spigot to freeze and crack. After taking the hose off of your spigot, turn off the water supply, and leave the spigot screwed open so remaining water can drain out.
- Prep your pots. Empty out all terra-cotta pots, and turn them upside down in a shed, garage, or other protected area to prevent cracks and breakage.
- Give your garden tools some TLC. Make an appointment to have tools such as pruners and saws sharpened; if you do it now, you won’t have to deal with a pair of dull snips when you need them in the Spring. Clean trowels, rakes, shovels, and other tools, and give them a good oiling to prevent rust before storing them out of harm’s way.
- Clean up your veggie garden. Turn over beds, pull out weeds, and make sure everything is harvested from your plot. If you’re overwintering hardy veggies such as parsnip, carrots, or rutabaga — which actually turn sweeter after a frost — these vegetables should be covered with a layer of straw or mulch.
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- Coddle your compost pile. To prevent your compost pile from going dormant in freezing temperatures, keep the aerobic activity high by turning it and adding fresh amendments of straw, leaves, and kitchen scraps.
- Trim dead wood. To prevent dead branches from breaking off and flying through your window during a windy storm, trim all dead branches on trees on your property. Store the wood for use in a backyard bonfire on a chilly evening.
- Make notes. Before you forget, make a list of what worked and what didn’t in your yard and garden this last growing season. What vegetables loved your veggie patch? Anything hate it? Do you need to add a particular bush or flowering plant in the Spring? How about hardscape issues? Write it all down now, then file it away on your computer as a handy reference come Spring.
- Inspect your Winter tools. Are your snow shovels in good shape? Does your snow blower need an oil change? Do you have supplies of sand and salt for combating slippery steps? Preparing now will save you time and worry.
- Clean your gutters. While not the most entertaining task in the world, it is an essential one. Cleaning debris out of your gutters will prevent them from breaking mid-Winter, which means one less headache for you. Learn how to do it here.
Source: Flickr User Drew And Merissa