dave-mittlemanAs the weather starts to cool down and the days get shorter, your gardens and other areas around your home will need your attention to prepare for the fall and winter months ahead. In addition, what you do now for your garden will help keep your soil fertile for production next year.

In addition, while some of your summer plants are likely winding down, you can prolong others into the fall season. Consider the following tips to clean up your summer garden and prepare for fall planting:

  • Pick up after your fruit trees. Clean up the debris and rotten fruit that have fallen to the ground to avoid attracting insects and to prevent the spread of brown rot. Also, feed your fruit trees with slow-release fertilizer for better production next year.
  • Fertilize begonias, fuchsias, annuals and other container plants to prolong their blooming into the fall. Always remember to water before fertilizing.
  • Fertilize fall-bloom perennials, too.
  • Start vegetable seedlings indoors in pots indoors the fall season. Fall vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, kale, and lettuce.

However, your garden isn’t the only area of your home in need of attention as the seasons change. Instead, you will also want to prepare your home for the fall, or the “fire season” when leaves are dry and can easily catch fire.

  • Keep your garden hose attached to the spigot throughout the fire season.
  • Keep gardening tools available in case of a fire: a round-point shovel with a long handle, a rake with a long handle, a ladder tall enough to reach the roof of your home, one or more 5-pound fire extinguishers, and at least one bucket and a garbage can full of water with a bailing bucket.
  • Never prune near power lines. Call your local utility company first to check if you must.
  • Cover your chimney outlet and stovepipe with non-flammable half-inch mesh screen.
  • Soak fireplace ashes and BBQ coals with water before disposing of them in a metal container.

Follow these tips and your home and garden will be ready for the coming seasons, and you’ll be able to enjoy the changing fall colors worry-free.