Your end-of-season gardening to-do list in the Midwest

We celebrated Thanksgiving, and the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game was played. This is usually all that needs to happen for people to put this gardening season behind them and look ahead to the upcoming holidays. There is nothing wrong with this. As we shut the gardening season down, I would like to remind you of a few things you may not have considered.

Out on the patio

There might be a few things out in the yard or around the patio that could be damaged if we have periods of extended sub-freezing temperatures. Items such as plastic rain gauges might get overlooked. You will want to move these items to an area where they will stay a little warmer, such as a garage or shed.

Ceramic and terracotta pots could crack if they are still filled with soil because the soil will retain moisture, which could freeze and expand, permanently damaging the pots. If you have removed the soil they can stay out. However, if you are like me and like to keep the soil, they need to go inside for the winter.

Let’s talk about birds

You also need to be careful with certain types of bird baths. You want to keep water accessible for the birds that stay here for the winter. Unfortunately, not all bird baths can tolerate freezing. One solution here would be to invest in a heater for your bird bath. This will keep the water from freezing so that it is available throughout the winter.

This is also a good time to consider feeding the birds. Many species spend the winter here. In season they have plenty of food, feeding on our plants and eating bugs. During the winter, however, their food sources are very limited. Birds are fun to watch and adding a feeder to your yard can be a source of entertainment as you are looking out your windows.

If you are interested in a simple bird feeder, or creating a habitat in your yard for birds, I would suggest you shop at a local bird supply store. Just like shopping at a local garden center, you will be able to talk with an expert who is familiar with our Ohio birds. Wild Birds Unlimited, with multiple locations, is a great one. Wild About Birds in Milford is also an excellent place to go.

Prep the power tools

This would also be a good time to make arrangements to have your lawnmower and other power equipment serviced. You cannot have it done too early. Too many people wait until the season is about ready to start early next spring. Then you have to wait and may not have your service done by the time you need to use your mower and other power tools.

If you have a snow blower, make sure it is ready for action should you need it. Looking at a driveway covered in snow is not a good time to find out that it is not working.

For the composters out there

If you have a compost pile, or access to someone else’s compost, now is a great time to add the compost to the soil in your flower and vegetable gardens. If you do not have access to any free compost, you can buy it from a garden store. A great product to use is Baccto The Cow. It is a combination of manure and natural compost.

If you are not ready to quit the garden yet, that’s okay too. There are no rules about when to start and stop gardening in a season. As I always like to say, it’s your garden so it’s your rules.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Your end-of-season Midwest gardening to-do list