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October in the Garden!
Even though it's starting to get cooler, there's still plenty of time to play outside. Here's a few October chores that will help make for less work as the spring arrives and keep the garden healthy.
- Continue to seed any bare patches on the lawn or over-seed the entire lawn to give it a healthy start in the spring. 
- And there's still plenty of time to plant spring blooming bulbs - but get them in before the ground starts to freeze. 

- Keep watering all your trees and shrubs, particularly new plantings. They all need plenty of water before the frost hits. The fall is also the perfect time to plant new perennials, shrubs and trees.
- Bring any houseplants back inside, the cooler nights might damage them. 
- Take any green tomatoes off your plants and make a green tomato salsa.
- Harvest and dry or freeze herbs for cooking over the winter.
- If you've got compost ready, add it to the beds.
- Harvest winter squash as the vines start to die back, but definitely before a hard frost.
- Plant garlic.
- Clean and sharpen garden tools.
- Clean out and fill bird feeders. 
- Consider a de-icer for your bird bath. If not, then turn it over so it doesn't freeze and crack over the winter.
- Put any garden ornaments away that can't handle the snow and ice. 
- Continue to clean up any garden debris and if not diseased, add it to the compost bin. 
- Shred fallen leaves and add to beds - it's a great mulch and full of nutrition. And they will break down by spring. 
- Cut down the perennials. 
- After the first heavy frost, dig up tender bulbs and store them for the winter. 
- And continue to enjoy the October weather and eat pumpkin pie!

To Rake or Not to Rake...





Like it or not, it’s that time of year again. Falling leaves - or those pesky leaves that seem to blow onto your lawn from every other tree in the neighbourhood. But what happens if you just leave them alone?
You can - for a while, but a heavy layer of maple, oak or other large leaves won’t keep your lawn healthy over the winter and will end up creating more work, and expense, when spring arrives.
Here's the risk - a heavy layer of leaves, particularly left under an even heavier layer of snow will start to smother the lawn. It can't breathe and therefore creates the perfect environment for diseases like snow mold and brown spot to develop - not to mention the pests that might decide to move in as well. The weight might also prevent new grass from sprouting in the spring.  That leaf-layer presents a barrier to water, nutrients and air that the root system needs to survive. 
But that doesn't mean every single leaf needs to be removed - here's a few ideas to reduce the risk and make good use of the nutrients that leaves can offer, when used correctly.
Run the lawn mower over them. Your lawn will love  you for it. Those finely shredded leaves will fall between the blades, adding both a fertilizer and mulch to the yard - which in turn helps reduce the number of weeds in the spring and provide healthy lawn growth.
Shred some for the garden beds. They'll break down over the winter and will reduce the amount of time and money spent in adding nutrients before planting season starts again. 
And don't forget your compost pile, it would welcome a good helping of shredded leaves. 
And if shredding isn't your thing, then bag them up in paper leaf bags (vs. plastic) so they can be taken to (or picked up - depending where you live) the local composting station...and who know's, when you go pick up compost in the might just be getting your own nicely-composted yard waste back!