Keep Raking Those Leaves
Leaves fall over a period of several weeks. If you wait until all of them have fallen, lawns and garden areas will be smothered and potentially damaged. Try to rake or blow the leaves at least once a week. Add them directly to the compost pile or shred them. Shredded leaves make some of the best mulch or addition to compost. If you don't have a leaf shredder, use a push lawn mower.
Tend Asparagus Bed
Cut off faded asparagus foliage at ground level and compost it. Rake mulch off the beds and fertilize with 2-1/2 pounds of superphosphate per 100 square feet. If beds were not fed with a complete fertilizer earlier in the fall, add it now at the rate of 2-1/2 pounds per 100 square feet. Spread a mulch of shredded leaves, well-aged manure, or compost over the bed.
When lily-of-the-valley become overcrowded, there will be fewer and fewer blooms. To have more of that wonderful fragrance and those delicate bell-like flowers, thin the plantings and fertilize with leaf mold or well-aged manure. The individual plants, or pips, can be replanted a foot apart into another shady area with humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. Alternatively, pot up the rhizomes and force into bloom later this winter.
Seed and plant catalogs arrive earlier than ever these days. No doubt, you're on the mailing list of a number of companies already, especially the larger ones, but don't overlook lesser-known or smaller companies. Check advertisements in magazines and do Web searches for specialty companies, such as those that focus on native plants, rare or unusual vegetables, a wide variety of fruits, or plants for shade, xeriscaping, or rain gardens.
Try Different Winter Squash
This is the time of year when groceries and farm stands have not only pumpkins for sale but also a wide variety of winter squash, most a good source of vitamin A and other nutrients. There's an amazing array of shapes, sizes, and colors of these, as well as variations in taste and texture. Try different ones to see which you prefer, and experiment with recipes. Besides baked with butter, brown sugar, and spices, try winter squash made into a creamed soup or add 1-inch pieces to stews. And don't forget to put out the seeds for the birds!