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 November in the Garden!
The season is definitely coming to a close now. Soon the snow will fly, that early rumble of the neighbours snowblower will greet you during the darkness of the morning, and boots, mitts and heavy coats will become the everyday. But look at it this way - on December 21 the days start to get longer....and shortly after that....seed catalogues start to arrive. Seems like spring is just around the corner! 
- By now you may have had a hit or two of frost. Time to pull up the annuals and toss them in the compost. Continue to cut back the perennials as well - it will save you time when spring arrives. 
- There's still some 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 ground starts to freeze.
- If you've got compost ready, add it to the beds. They will love you in the spring!
- 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. 
- After the first heavy frost, dig up tender bulbs and store them for the winter. 
- Add a layer of mulch to any sensitive perennials or those that are in a high-wind area. 
- If you put Christmas lights out, do it early on a warmer day. And go ahead and plug them in too - enjoy the show for as long as you can. 
- And continue to enjoy those last few days of fall warmth and sun.
- Drain and store hoses...and remember to shut off outside water sources.  
- Oh...and hate to say it, but continue to pull out any weeds that appear. 

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!