Read these 10 fall garden tips to prepare for the long stretch of winter weather.
1. Check the garden shed and remove any aerosols, liquids, or other items that might freeze. Otherwise, the contents are likely to be unusable in the spring.
2. Dispose of any rose leaves that have dropped to the ground; they may be infected with black spot or other diseases. It’s OK to burn them, but don’t add them to the compost pile — they can reintroduce diseases into the garden.
3. Garden hose lasts longer if you roll it up after each use. To make a reel, attach an old bucket to the garage or barn wall by nailing it securely through the bottom. Coil the hose around the bucket and store the nozzles and sprinklers inside.
4. Keep a bucket of sand, sprinkled lightly with kerosene or oil, in the shed where you store your garden tools. After using the tools, scour them with the sand to keep them clean and rust free. (Because of hazardous fumes, do not use this technique inside your house.)
5. Never throw away a mop or broom before you salvage the handle. Old handles can be used to replace broken ones on other tools or as garden stakes.
6. Paint a brightly colored stripe around the handle of each of your gardening tools. It will help in spotting tools dropped in the grass or garden.
7. Plow or till the garden in the fall to expose both hibernating insects and weed seeds, which will then perish.
8. Sharpening your garden tools can make a difference in how well they work. Sharpen a shovel by filing the inside edge — the one that holds the soil — in the direction that’s away from the handle. Then turn it over and lightly file the burr off the back.
9. Take advantage of frozen ground by trucking loads of manure out to your garden now. Avoid repeated traffic over one area, however, which may cause some damage to the grass.
10. Transfer boxed fertilizers or garden chemicals in your garden shed to plastic containers now, as their original cardboard packaging may deteriorate over the winter. Don’t forget to label the new containers.