It is time to gather up all the gardening tools and get them ready for winter.

Shovels should be wiped down to get all the dirt off the metal parts. Leftover dirt will cause rusting. A light coating of oil, or an application of a silicone spray, will finish the job.The same goes for any other long-handle tools. Pruners and loping shears should have the metal parts cleaned too. Sap builds up on the blades, making it harder for the tools to make a clean cut. Remove the sap with rubbing alcohol and then apply oil or silicone spray.

Remember that the  gas-powered tools need cleaning this time. Dried grass under the deck of the lawn mower will trap moisture, causing the deck to rust.Blades should be sharpened and coated with oil. The oil should be changed. Then, apply silicone spray to the metal parts.But do not forget to refer the owner’s manual on how to disconnect the spark plug wire. If the wire is left connected and you turn the blade, the mower could start with disastrous results to fingers and hands that may be under the mower.

Weed wackers and leaf blowers need maintenance too. As do hedge trimmers. You may want to take these to your local equipment dealer for servicing now, so that the tools will be ready for spring.

If you have planted tulip and daffodil bulbs late this year in your garden, the mild weather may help them flower in the spring. As soil temperatures are still so warm, the bulbs should have time to get their root system out into the soil.This is important because the bulbs need to rooted and exposed to cold soil temperatures, as well as warming soil temperatures in the spring, in order to flower.

If you want your bulbs to have extra time to root, you can place a 3-inch layer of mulch on top of the area where you planted the bulbs. The layer of mulch will act as insulation, slowing down the cooling of the soil temperatures.

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