Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn’t end when cold weather comes, there’s surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you’ll be ahead of the game in spring.
Tools take a beating during the year, and the offseason is the perfect time to give them a little TLC. At a minimum, wash off the dirt, dry them with a towel, and store them in a rain- and snow-protected place. You may also wish to sharpen cutting blades, and oil the joints on pruners and other hinged equipment. Hardware stores often offer the service for a modest fee.
Ditto on the TLC treatment for your hoses. There always seem to be a few leaky connections that you never have time to repair throughout the year. Often, all that’s required is a new rubber washer in the female end of the hose. Any out-of-commission hoses that were cut or split open during the year can be repaired with an inexpensive coupling, rather than discarding them. You will find hose washers and repair kits at any garden center or hardware store.
Wise gardeners know that bare soil is the enemy. It washes away in the rain and turns into a brick in the summer sun. Late in fall, after the vegetation has died down, is a great time to take stock of the places in the garden that could use a covering of mulch. Besides, you’re likely to have some fallen leaves on hand, a free and high-quality form of mulch that enriches the soil more than wood chips.
Build Something with Wood
Not all gardening projects need to take place outdoors. If you have a shed, garage or basement, along with a few power tools and a little carpentry know-how, now is a prime window for building that new planter box you’ve been dreaming of or the hand-painted birdhouse that your spouse would love as a Christmas gift. Avid gardeners never have time for such indulgences during the growing season, so knock yourself out while you can.