Get your home, lawn and garden ready for the onset of the cold months with this checklist of fall chores.
Compost your autumn leaves; to speed decomposition, add a layer of lime or organic lawn fertilizer and keep moist.
Lawn Care: Continue mowing and watering new grass; lawn should be short as winter begins; rake lawn regularly or leaves will mat and smother the grass.
Compost Leaves: Add a layer of lime or organic lawn fertilizer to hasten decomposition; keep moist.
Clean up perennial beds. Remove spent annuals and compost them.
Lift tender summer bulbs—including tuberous begonias, caladiums, cannas, dahlias, gladiolus and tritoma—after the first frost. Dust with sulfur and store in vermiculite in a cool cellar.
Update your records of planting and harvesting dates. List gaps in planting, favorite varieties, quantities and qualities of harvests. Make a crop rotation plan for planting next year.
Prepare soil in flower and vegetable gardens for spring planting.
Prune and fasten climbers against wind damage.
Get blankets out of the cedar chest and give them a good airing.
Make sure your snow shovel is in good shape if you live where the white stuff comes!
Feed fish in ponds until water freezes.
Clean gutters and downspouts.
Turn off water, drain hoses, service irrigation systems, and store garden furniture.
Watershallow-rooted plants such as dogwoods, broadleaf evergreens, newly planted trees and newly planted bulb beds thoroughly before ground freezes.
Move half-hardy container plants into the greenhouse or cold frame. In warmer regions, sink into the ground for winter protection.
After the ground freezes, mulch bulb beds, perennials and other small plants to prevent heaving during periods of freezing and thawing.
In cold regions, ventilate cold frames until ground has frozen; close and mulch lightly or cover with straw matting.
Put up storm windows; make sure house doors and windows are adequately insulated.
Clean and prepare bird feeders.
Clean the chimney
Start up your furnace to make sure it's working properly.
Editor's note: Many of these reminders came to MOTHER from Joanne Lawson and Louise Carter, authors of the 1990 Gardener's Guide: A Handbook of Instruction.
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