Last weekend we spent the day winterizing my Grandmother's yard. I know it's a bit early to be talking about this for some of you, but if you want those peonies to be back in bloom next year its better to be prepared to ensure disease and frost don't get the better of your green pals outside.

1. Rake those leaves! Not raking fallen leaves before the rains, frost and snow arrive can cause disease to take over your lawn and planting beds. Of course the best plan is to compost them.

2. Plant spring bulbs. Anytime between September and December, depending on where you live, as long as the soil is still workable.

3. Weed. Doing a bit of work in the fall will save you extra work in the spring by keeping weeds from getting a head start. As the old saying goes, don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today!

4. Apply a winter mulch to perennials where temperatures fall below -10 degrees F. Pine needles, straw or shredded leaves will all work just fine.

5. Cover your vegetable gardens with a tarp or weed barrier, this will prevent weeds from taking seed before you can get into it in the spring and fertilize.

6. Purchase garden tools, equipment, and supplies now. Most shops will be discounting their gardening supplies as winter approaches. If you need weed mat, or tomato cages consider purchasing now. You'll get great discounts and there won't be such a shock in the spring when its time to start purchasing plants and seeds.

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