Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall into place

So far this year I have learned that gardening (aka simply keeping plants alive) is not an easy task. I have managed to keep a few plants thriving and some have actually grown this year. Whodathunk!

I'd like to keep these little guys alive for next year (when I can hopefully learn a little more about gardening). I have to admit that as much as I hate the cold weather I am SO ready to have a few months off of "oh my gosh is that thing dying too!"

This week I felt the first cool breeze of the fall season which has me starting to think of what needs to be done to get "winterized." We do have a few items to put in order to get ready for the wonderful winter season (blah) so here it goes!

1. Clean up the plants - As I said we've actually had some growth this year in spite of my black thumb. I need to go ahead and trim up the bushes so come springtime when they start growing again they can have a good starting point.

2. Clean up the beds - While we are in cleaning mode we might as well go ahead and clean up all of the overgrown grass, weeds and yes even the tree attempting to grow through the porch (that is one determined little booger as I've chopped it 3 times now). This activity gets us ready for #3...

3. Mulch the beds - I've heard that this works in 2 sources of magic: a. it protects the roots from both frost and heat (maybe I should've done this earlier...); b. mulch is a natural weed suppressor (again, I should've done this earlier this year...grrr). I think this will become a regular activity for our house. Yay!

4. Plant some trees - only to replace the trees I've already killed. I may even move them back a little further (and more into the sun) now that I think about it. According to multiple sites fall is the best time to plant them, wait you mean that June just in time for summer heat is a bad time? Oh my innocence/lack of research.

5. Fertilize & seed the grass - again another place to get weeds under control but I read that we should fertilize, kill weeds and seed now as well as aerate (what the heck?) so we can get some good root growth going before winter.

6. Mow the grass properly - according to the same site instruction me to fertilize and seed the grass now they say you shouldn't give your lawn a buzz cut each time you mow. Good to know. Looks like we will be raising the mower's deck to get the 2-2.5" of grass growth.

7. Prepare the mower and weed wacker for winter - we actually won't be able to do this for a little while but once the grass quits growing it will be time for a good scrubdown, draining of the gas and replacing of the oil.

8. Figure out the safest way to store the gas - Typically we store everything under the house but I'm wondering if it will freeze under there so we may just put the gas into one of our cars and let the buckets just dry out for the winter. Its not like we will be using them anyways.

9. Organize the storage below the house - I just need to hang some hooks for the weed whacker and accessories and maybe construct some bins for gloves and the like. We shall see!

10. Figure out the flaps - are they supposed to be opened or closed for winter? You know what I'm talking about, the little holes in your foundation covered in screen and able to be open or closed. I need to get that straightened out and get it done properly. Supposedly that helps with heating/cooling costs if you do it right!

11. Save the living - Yes I do actually still have some live plants in my planter boxes and I need to get some bigger pots and figure out where I will keep them for the winter. Our garage stays incredible warm so I'm thinking that would be a good spot for the little boogers. Lets see if I can keep this up through the winter.

12. Trim the branches/clean the wooded area - We have some trees that lost branches last year and although we've cleaned out a lot of the wooded area we need to finish it up to make room for what we will lose this year. Plus it will be a big help next spring.

13. Pine straw the edge of the wooded area? - I know this sounds obsessive (I am) but I feel as though it would make everything look so much more structured. I'm not saying I'm planning on putting it throughout the wooded area, just on the edge to define it a little more.

14. Seal the cracks in the holes around the foundation - We have an unfinished portion by the crawlspace door and some caulking for the air conditioner pipes is popping out a little giving a crack there. I've seen enough of Billy the exterminator to know that I don't want those because I don't want furry little critters who want a warm place to snuggle into at night. No siree Bob!

15. Make sure our gutters are clear - with as much construction as I've seen going on next door and as many nails and other objects that I have seen in our yard I think this is pretty important for us to check on. Making sure we don't have any nails, fasteners, etc is probably a pretty important task before winter weather hits (not that we get that much).

16. Make sure the excavated part of our property is fixed - Ok technically this isn't "winterizing" but it needs to be done before winter/before the house next door is finished. The way they've added the house next door is a tight fit. I understand this but they took out 2-3 of our trees and we have a festive little mud pile going on where it was once undisturbed forestry. I've been in talks with the builder but need to get everything finalized and confirmed for the replacements I'm insisting upon.

17. Insulate our outdoor faucets? - This is something I kind of remember my dad doing but I need to see if its something we should do this year to prevent frozen/busting pipes.

Whew, that's a lot but some of it is technically stuff we should've be doing already. Oops! I'm sure we will get it all done eventually!