How to clean up your garden for fall and winter

Saving seeds from the garden

Growing season is winding down, but your garden still needs your love. Spent vines, stubborn weeds, greens gone to seed are making your garden look sloppy and tired.

Here are some fall vegetable garden cleanup tips.

Bury the dead

Nothing looks sadder than leggy tomato vines, yellow zucchini leaves, and dried-up perennials that long ago displayed their last bloom. So pull and prune the dead or dying plants in your garden.

Bury spent plants in your compost pile; double-bag diseased and infested plants and place in the trash. (Empty mulch bags are great final resting places for these plants, so be sure to stockpile them in spring.)

If your tomato vines are still bearing fruit, keep staking and pruning them until the first hard frost, when they’ll likely die. And give the birds a break and leave some seed-bearing but spent blooms for them. They love sunflowers, cone flowers, berries, and black-eyed Susans.

Pull weeds

This is the last time this season to pull weeds. Pluck them before they flower and send seeds throughout your garden that will rest in winter and sprout in spring.

If you have a mulcher, chop the weeds and throw them on your compost pile. If you want to be extra sure that weed seeds are dead, bag weeds in black plastic and place in a sunny place for a couple of months. The heat will kill the seeds. Then throw the cooked weeds on your compost pile.

Harvest seeds

One way to cut garden expenses is to harvest and store seeds. One large sunflower, for instance, can provide seeds for hundreds of plants next spring. Here are some seed guidelines.

  • Disease can spread through seeds, so only harvest seeds from your healthiest plants.
  • Don’t harvest seeds from hybrid plants, which often are sterile or will look nothing like the parent plant.
  • Only harvest mature seeds from dry and faded blooms and pods. Mature seeds are often cream colored or brown.
  • After seeds are dry, store them in envelopes or glass jars in a cool, dry place.

Gather supports

Stack and cover metal tomato cages. Bundle wooden or bamboo stakes, and store in a dry place so they don’t rot over winter. And retrieve panty-hose vine ties that you can re-use next spring.

Instead of throwing out broken cages and stakes, repurpose them. Snip off remaining cage legs to use for pepper supports. Broken tomato steaks will support smaller plants if you whittle one end into a point, so it easily slips into the ground.

Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.  Reprinted with permission.

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon 
Image: Kristi Stone, author of “Let This Mind Be in You”
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/gardens/fall-garden-cleanup/#ixzz35lMEs486

 

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Inspecting Your Roof – Get ahead of problems

Home Roof Inspection Home Roof Maintenance and Repair

A roof inspection is one of those preventative maintenance jobs that’s easy to overlook. Don’t. Add a once-a-year reminder on your calendar to go out on a warm day and fix any problems you find.

If you’re squeamish about heights, don’t worry. You can do a thorough inspection from the ground using a pair of binoculars.

Or, you can get up close and personal with your roof using a ladder. However, there’s no need to get up on your roof just yet. The less you walk around up there, the better for your roofing — and the safer for you. Work your way around your house, noting any potential problems.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing.
  • Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering.
  • Missing or broken shingles.
  • Cracked and worn rubber boots around vent pipes.
  • Missing or damaged chimney cap. (OK, that’s technically not part of your roof, but since you’re looking anyway.)
  • Masses of moss and lichen, which could signal the roof is decaying underneath. Black algae stains are just cosmetic.

If you find piles of colored grit from asphalt roof tiles in the gutters, that’s a bad sign — those sand-like granules cover the surface of roof shingles and shield them from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Check the age of your roofing and see if it’s nearing the end of its life cycle.

Easy Fixes for Roofing Problems

Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately. Check for popped nails that need to be hammered back in place.

If you’re comfortable working on a roof, then it’s not too difficult to replace shingles and caulk flashing yourself. Cost: $24 for a bundle of shingles, $6 for roofing caulk. Allow a half-day to make a few shingle repairs.

Metal and vinyl flashing around chimneys, skylights, and attic vents that has separated needs to be resealed with caulk. However, flashing and vent boots that are beginning to rust or deteriorate should be replaced.

Cost of Professional Repairs

Contact pro roofing companies and seek at least two bids for repair work. You can use a handyman for minor fixes and possibly shave costs, but the person should be bonded, have proof of liability, and have workman’s compensation insurance.

Some costs for common repairs include:

  • A few broken or missing shingles: $100-$150.
  • Large repairs (10-by-10-foot section of roofing): $100-$350 asphalt; $200-$1,000 wood.
  • Replacing flashing or boots around chimneys, skylights, and vents: $300-$500.
  • Repairing flashing in valleys: $15-$25 per running foot.

Clearing Your Roof of Moss

Moss eradication begins in the fall. Apply a moss killer intended for roofs (granules for lawn-use contain iron which will stain a roof).

In the spring, use a broom to remove remaining dead moss. Spread moss killer along the ridge of the roof and on any remaining green patches. Cost: $20 for moss killer to treat 3,000 sq. ft. of roof. Allow about three hours to sweep the roof, clear the gutters, and apply the granules.

Be Alert to Early Signs of a Roof Leak

A yearly roof checkup is great, but problems can occur at any time. Early signs of trouble include:

  • Dark areas on ceilings.
  • Peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs.
  • Damp spots alongside fireplaces.
  • Water stains on pipes venting the water heater or furnace.

If you find worrisome signs, especially if the roof is old or there’s been a storm with heavy wind or hail, get a professional assessment. Some roofing companies do this for free; specialized roof inspectors, like those who work through the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association, charge about $175.

Related: How to Prevent Water Damage

Replacing Your Roof

If your asphalt roof is 15 years old or more, it may be due for replacement. The national average cost for a new asphalt shingle roof is $18,913, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, of which you’ll recoup $12,777 at resale (67.6%). For high-end materials, such as standing-seam metal, the national average cost jumps to as much as $34,495.


Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.  Reprinted with permission.”
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/roofing-gutters-siding/inspecting-and-maintaining-your-roof/#ixzz35lKYhhmW
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