Tag Archives: fall home maintenance

Late Summer-Early Fall Gardening and Yard Care Tips

By Charles Bellman, writer for Mantis.

Here are some useful gardening and yard care tips for late summer and early fall:

1. Continue to weed your garden often to stay ahead of weeds. Weeds can spread very quickly during the late summer, and they’ll rob your plants of both nutrition and water. Pull weeds when the soil is moist and the weeds are small. Early morning weeding sessions after an overnight rainfall can be very efficient.

2. Take pictures while your garden is fully grown. They’ll help you remember what you planted, and where. Crop rotation is a good practice that helps reduce diseases and the effects of some pests. If your tomato plants or annual flowers are too crowded, use these photos to remind you of proper spacing next season.

3. Make some notes. This is an ideal time to set up a gardening notebook or a PC file. Note what worked well, what you’d like to do better, what you’d like to learn before next season, and any tools or supplies you might need for next season.

4. Harvest squash and beans before they get too big. If you have extras, and choose not to can or freeze your bounty for later use, find a way to share it. Many food pantries and churches will accept fresh produce for distribution to those in need.

5. If you don’t already have a compost bin or pile, now is a great time to start! You’ll soon have finished tomato plants and other garden leftovers. Areas with a lot of deciduous trees will soon be covered with falling leaves. Composting is easy with the help of a composter!

6. Make a plan to collect as many fall leaves as you can easily compost or store. If you collect more than your compost bin or pile can handle, store dry, shredded leaves in large garbage cans or bags. Shred them with a shredder or a lawn mower; make sure that you keep them dry during storage. The shredded leaves can be used next season to mulch vegetable gardens, and they can provide the necessary “brown” material that your compost needs when it can be overwhelmed with “green” materials.

7. As fall approaches, avoid the temptation to prune… except large, overlapping branches that might break under the stress of snow or wind. Pruning always encourages new growth and should be avoided as winter approaches. New, tender branches are much more susceptible to winter damage.

8. Aerate and Dethatch your lawn if it needs it. The very dry summer that many of us have experienced has resulted in abnormally high thatch build-up. Aerate and dethatch your lawn at least 6 weeks prior to the end of its growing season, so that it will have time to recover before winter dormancy.

9. Continue to add mulch to your flower and vegetable gardens throughout the season. A combination of shredded dry leaves and grass clippings is our favorite. The leaves help prevent the grass clippings from matting, and the grass clippings help prevent the leaves from blowing away. Mulch helps suppress weeds and also keeps your soil retain moisture. As mulch decomposes, it will boost your soil’s tilth and fertility.

10. Plan to clean up your gardens when they’re “done.” Not only are messy gardens an eyesore, but they’ll harbor more damaging insects and diseases. Clean up your vegetable and annual flower gardens before the ground freezes and you’ll be ready to get off to a clean start next season.

To learn more about composting, click here.

Home Maintenance To-Do List Before Winter Hits

The dog days of summer are behind us, the days are growing shorter and, before you know it, winter will once again be upon us. Even though it comes around every year at this time, many still find themselves waiting until the last minute to address those final outside projects in preparation for winter. Before the temperature begins its decent into the dark days of winter, take advantage of those few remaining sunny days and consider these ten tips to ensure your home is ready for the coming change in weather.

1. Clean Out Your Stove Or Fireplace

Before striking that match for the first fire of the season, perform a thorough cleaning of the flue area of your chimney. It is advised that you have a professional check the condition of your chimney to minimize potential chimney fires.

2. Clean Those Gutters

Make sure all leaves and other debris are removed from your gutters before the rains return. Consider taking a garden hose and washing down both the gutter and downspouts. Also make sure the water is properly draining away from the foundation. Once winter returns, any water held back in your gutters by a plugged downspout could freeze and place an unnecessary strain on the gutters themselves.

3. Inspect Your Heating System

Depending on the type of heating system your home has, it is always a good idea to be proactive rather than reactive. If it is a furnace system, make sure it is properly cleaned, the parts are in good working order and the filter has been changed. It might even be a good idea to have a professional inspect it for you in case there is something you may have missed. If your heating system has seen better years, now could be the time to upgrade. After all, you don’t want to freeze this winter!

4. Store All Lawn Furniture

It is always a good idea to store your lawn furniture for the winter months ahead. Somewhere around the middle of October is a good time to accomplish this task. By doing so, you will protect your investment from the ravages of winter and get many more years of service from your outdoor furnishings.

5. Inspect The Roof for Possible Loose Shingles

Because the roof is vital in keeping rain out of your house, it is also important that the covering on your roof is secure and in good condition. The number one cause of a leaky roof is damaged or loose shingles. It is not too late to inspect them and make the necessary adjustments before winter sets in. In addition to inspecting your roof, take a look at any tree limbs that might be hanging over your roof and trim them back to prevent potential damage during a snowstorm.

6. Drain Outside Water Spigots

Now is a good time to shut off any water supply to outside faucets and drain them to avoid potential freezing and then bursting after the freeze has passed.

7. Check The Weatherstripping Around Windows

It is believed that energy savings of up to 15 per cent can be realized when all doors and windows are properly weatherstripped. One way to check the efficiency of your current windows and doors is by means of a ‘paper test’. This involves shutting the door or window on a piece of paper. If you can then pull the paper out without tearing it, you will need to replace faulty weatherstripping.

8. Make Room In The Garage

Unless you have a storage building to put your lawn furniture, bicycles and gardening tools in, now would be a good time to clean out the garage to make room for these items. It is also a good idea to make enough room to store what the garage was meant for: your vehicles!

9. Repair Those Leaky Faucets

Now would be a good time to make a last run-through of all outside faucets, to ensure they are in good working order. This is where being proactive instead of reactive can save some money on repairs should a leaky faucet freeze during the winter months, only to break once the spring thaw happens. It is also a good idea to protect those faucets with foam insulation covers.

10. Inspect All Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A rule of thumb is to inspect detectors twice yearly and replace all batteries annually. In addition, ensure you have sufficient detectors throughout the house. Simply follow the instructions given on all detectors to make sure they are fully functional.

Well, there you have it! By taking these 10 tips and applying them to your home, you will be better prepared for those long, cold winter days and nights just around the corner.

Maintaining your family’s security is an important fact of life and we want to give you the information you need to make wise decisions in all your home improvement ideas. We are always adding new pertinent home-related articles to our web site. Whether it has to do with organizing, remodeling or anything else having to do with your home, we are your one-stop location to help you with all your home improvement needs. For more home improvement tips and information, simply go to http://moorehomeschool.com where you will find a wide variety of articles addressing all things relating to the family and the home.