Winter in Minnesota comes early, stays late, and drinks all the booze in your house. The nights here are already quite crisp, and Peanut and I had a lot of work to do in the yard before the snow starts, so we took a whack at things last weekend.
We have a beautifully landscaped backyard, which we had nothing to do with. After living in our house for two summers, we had a pretty good idea what plants we liked and which we didn't, and we knew we wanted to add a more effective area for growing our own food - currently we've been planting zucchini and tomatoes and green peppers sort of wherever we saw a space. I got $120 for a focus group a few weeks ago, and we decided to try to do all our garden prep for that amount of money.
To start, we ripped out the bushes at the front of our house - they were big and ugly and required a lot of pruning and really added no character at all. Once they were gone, we moved six autumn sedum joy plants from the backyard to the front - much nicer looking! In the spring, you'll be able to see our windowboxes for the first time. As a bonus, we got to save some plants that I liked but were in the way in the backyard, and didn't have to buy new plants for the front.
We ripped up a bunch of stuff from the back as well - things that were taking over from where they'd originally been planted, or that attract lots of flies. There's a strip of garden along the path to the garage that we are going to clear out entirely. Then we'll build a raised bed and do a lasagna garden like Frugal by Choice describes, and leave it all winter. Hopefully in the spring, we won't really need to do any prep to the soil, but it will be ready to plant with all sorts of delicious stuff. The soil we have in the backyard is pretty sandy and full of clay, so if this works it will save us a lot on buying good growing dirt.
Aside from that, we just need to clear out the old ornamental grasses and dead lilies and that sort of thing. We'll probably only need to mow once or twice more, and then our yard can be shut up for winter.
Are you doing any outdoor winterizing?