It's time to put the gardens to bed for winter.
A bit of work in the fall makes for healthier flowers and veggies in the spring and summer.
1. Cut back roses to the base and cover in top soil or potting soil to protect them from freezing.
2. Gather seeds from your annuals by allowing them to "seed out". Allow flowers to mature until they go to seed; pluck the flower top; and place in a napkin in the refrigerator. You can plant the seeds in the spring.
3. Mulch perennials. Freezing and thawing can cause soil to hump up, which will pull and injure roots.
4. Prune bushes. Longer branches will hold more snow weight that may cause them to break. Shorter branches are sturdier.
5. Don't be too anxious to keep fall grass short, especially in areas with pets. I keep the back yard grass a bit longer in the winter. When the grass is dormant, a thicker turf tolerates paw traffic better than shorter grass.
6. Put away the rota tiller. Turning over the soil in winter allows the soil to be exposed and cause it to get "freezer burn".
7. Cover your veggie garden in mulch too. Leaves make an excellent mulch, as long as you chop them up. Uncut leaves are too heavy and wet and can cause mildew and disease.You can either rent a shredder, or rake them into a pile and run them over with your mower.
8. Begin winter composting. Kitchen scraps like veggie peelings, egg shells, and coffee grounds are excellent ways to add nutrients to the soil.
9. Banana mulch the roses. Over the winter, I chop up my banana peels and toss them on the dormant roses. In the spring, when the roses begin to bud, I'll turn the soil over, burying the banana peels that will feed the roses.
10. Stop bagging grass. The clippings are great natural fertilizer for a healthier lawn.