To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow – Audrey Hepburn
There is a certain wonder when it comes to creating something. A little effort often provides a magical result: a seed into a bloom; an empty room into a haven; a spark into a fire. The fall isn’t only about hunkering down for the winter. It’s a boom-time for creative endeavors. A little preparation will go a long way in creating an inspiring environment for the autumn months. Here’s a checklist of outdoor tasks to help foster more fun outdoors.
Expert gardeners have their fall plantings planned for months (or, they buy the seedlings at the nursery!). Get out there and plant them before the frost. Plant the fall veggies like red winter kale, broccoli, chard, radishes and onions. Plant a variety and plant only what you’ll eat or be able to share.
Tag the rows well. If you plant for the spring now, use a hearty tagging method that will endure the cold, wet and snow. You don’t want to get to March or April and not remember which plants are where.
Gather up leaves on a regular basis. Mulch the leaves to use for the soil. A good lawn mower can do the job.
Leave old seed pods, discarded stalks, leftover bulbs, etc. They can stay where they landed. The local fauna, from tiny creepy crawlies to furry critters like rabbits and deer, need those treats during the winter months.
Bird feeders meant only for warmer weather can be cleaned and stored. A cage of suet can be a nice replacement that will attract the wintering birds in the area.
Cover the roses and any other decorative planting that may need it.
If you store wood for the fireplace or fire pit, make sure it is free of critter nests. Blow the leaves from collecting in the crevices. Cover the wood with a tarp or store in a dry area.
Check out the pump in the water element. Pumps need to be cleaned and maintained. Water expands when it freezes and can crack natural stone in the process. Consider having a back-up pump at the ready in case the pond’s pump dies mid-winter. Empty all water elements if you don’t plan on running the pump all winter.
Blow out the leaves and debris from the corners of the Hardscape. Acorns, leaves, and other small bits end up collecting there and can end up staining the pavers. To remove, gently scrub (with a soft push broom) any stains you find with either Simple Green or Techniseal Organic Stain Remover.
If you have a pond, inspect and clean it, giving special attention to the pump. Any disruption of the power supply or stopping of the mechanism could result in ice. Water expands when it freezes, and that expansion is strong enough to crack stone in half. You’ll want to maintain the water feature throughout the winter. If not, drain it before the first frost.
It’s not done yet!
We still have many good days and nights to spend outside. Take in the furniture cushions only when you have to. Cocktail hours on the patio, s’mores around a fire pit, crisp nights and star-gazing are some of the best parts of fall. Get out there and create the space and time to make memories.