Take Garden Notes
Yes, it's best to have an organized record-keeping system, whether on the computer or in a notebook, but even jotting down some quick notes about this year's garden, while it's still fresh in your mind, is a great way to make improvements each year. Think about which vegetable varieties flourished as well as those that didn't. Compile a list of design improvements that would make the garden more enjoyable. Focus on what's important to you and those things that will make gardening a greater pleasure.
Remove the Last of the Leaves
You've probably already been raking leaves for what seems like ages, but if you have trees that are late to drop their leaves, such as silver maples, there are leaves that are still falling. When these are finally down, either chop them with a mulching mower or shred them and add to the compost or leaf mold pile. It's also important to mow the lawn one last time to about 2 inches high, as taller lawn grass will encourage winter diseases.
Enjoy the Fall Vegetables
Light frosts sweeten and improve the flavor of many fall vegetables, such as turnips, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts, as well as kale and other greens. If you don't have these vegetables in your own garden, then this is a great time to visit farmer's markets because they'll abound with them. Buy extra, since most of these keep well in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator. This is one holiday indulgence that is rich both in flavor and nutritional benefits.
Finish Putting Pots, Hoses, and Other Garden Items Away
What with cleaning up flower and vegetable areas, raking leaves, weeding and protecting vulnerable plants for the winter ahead, fall is as busy a season as spring in the garden. The most efficient of you will have all the garden paraphernalia cleaned and put away by now. For the rest of us, be sure pots, especially clay ones, are cleaned and put away in a dry place, as well as any garden ornaments that will not withstand freezing temperatures. After the last watering, drain hoses, wipe clean, coil, and store flat.
Prepare for a Living Christmas Tree
A tradition of buying and planting a living Christmas tree is a great way to add evergreens to your yard. But when it's time to plant, the ground is often frozen. Decide where its permanent outdoor home will be and dig the hole now. Fill the hole with leaves and cover it with plywood or boards, so no one stumbles into it. Cover the soil that is removed with a tarpaulin, and you'll be ready to plant after the holiday.