Apple Harvest Time
Harvest apples as they ripen, and pack them gently into boxes for winter storage. Apples will keep for several months when stored in a cool, dry place. Be sure to pick up and remove windfall apples from the ground to prevent any unwelcome pests or diseases from wintering over and affecting next year's crop.
More Light for Houseplants
Shorter days mean fewer hours of sunshine for your houseplants. Help maximize the available sunlight by opening the curtains and raising the blinds as early as possible every morning. Moving your plants closer to the window will also increase the amount of light they get.
Clean Out Irrigation Pipes
Drain garden hoses and bring them into a garage or shed to protect them from damaging winter weather. If you have drip irrigation tubes, blow the water out of the tubes now and bring them into a sheltered area. Drain water from sprinkler systems, too. Any water left in the pipes over winter can freeze and rupture the pipes.
Make Compost Piles
As you clean up flower and vegetable beds, add disease-free plant debris to the compost pile. If you catch grass clippings in a mower bag, put these into the compost, too! Try mixing brown (dried leaves) materials with green (fresh grass clippings), moisten and cover the pile. The pile will decompose over winter and transform the organic matter into "black gold" to enrich your soil next season.
Plant Trees and Shrubs
Many trees and shrubs can be planted in early fall. Planting before the end of October will allow enough time for the roots to become established before winter weather arrives. Mulch new plantings with a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic matter to help maintain uniform soil moisture and regulate soil temperatures.