Autumn is one of our favourite seasons. Not only does Northwest Calgary have breathtaking views as the foliage changes colour, but we’re ready for a fresh pace after the summer fun. Switching up routines and schedules, wardrobes and colour palettes, admiring the beautiful change of season reflected in parks and gardens, to indulging in specialty coffee drinks. Yes, it’s time to say so-long to summer and leap into fall, and a pile of leaves!
We make the changing seasons sound like fun and games. It can be, even with an autumn to-do list for the house. As the seasons change, so do our activities and home needs so it’s a good time for seasonal maintenance before there is a hint of snow. How does this help? By being proactive, it makes your life easier in the spring, and helps keep your home healthy through the crisp, cold winters.
What exactly is a healthy home? It means making conscious efforts to take care of our home using green and sustainable initiatives, whether composting, green cleaning, grasscycling, or using a rain barrel. These initiatives not only help you with your fall home and garden maintenance, but lighten our eco-footprints one step at a time for our community, our planet and our future.
This is more than a trend – just ask Green Calgary, our city’s very own leading urban environmental charity! From prepping your lawn to checking window seals, we’ve tapped into their top tips on how to see your home and garden fall-ready.
Learn how to make your garden more fruitful and home more comfortable so you’re ready for Calgary’s predictably unpredictable seasonal swings.
Photo Credit: Brookfield Residential Calgary
Homeowners need to be proactive in the fall so they can keep their homes and yards operating well through until spring. Spending a few hours tackling maintenance to-dos will save you money and avoid issues in the spring that can be damaging and costly such as irrigation repairs when not properly winterized or damage to trees that are not wrapped in burlap. Preparations also help you be more energy efficient throughout the seasons.
Where to start? Start with your lawn! Get out that rake and remove all those dead leaves. Otherwise they’ll be sodden mats in the spring and smother the sprouting grass below. Not only is it easier to rake dry leaves, it makes for a great family activity. Next, cut the grass by using a mulching mower to shred grass and leaves into tiny flakes that decompose into natural fertilizer. It’s fast, easy and it makes the grass happy and green!
Fall is the perfect time to make sure all your windows and doors are well sealed so check for cracks or leaks, and repair everything while the weather conditions are still favourable. Caulking around windows and doors prevents cold air from getting in and your warm air from getting out. Having a good seal around these openings will not only make your home more comfortable, but will also help you waste less energy and save you money.
Though typically “out of sight, out of mind”, eavestroughs and downspouts can lead to costly repairs. Don’t neglect this aspect of your home! As leaves begin to fall, your gutters become filled and the leaves will block water from making it off of your roof. Grab your ladder, a garden trowel, bucket and start cleaning. Remember: safety first. Never do this alone!
Now’s the time to store your rain barrel for the cooler season ahead. Photo credit: Green Calgary
If you have a rain barrel (and why wouldn’t you?), it’s time to store it for the cooler season ahead. Our freeze and thaw weather can crack your barrel, costing you a lot of money to replace in the spring and creating unnecessary waste. Disconnect and empty your rain barrels. Turn them upside down so they can’t collect water and put a rock on them so that the wind doesn’t gift them to your neighbour! You can learn how to winterize your rain barrel here.
Even though the leaves are changing, the growing season is winding down and your grass isn’t growing, your lawn still needs water. Fall watering helps your lawn recover from summer stress and gain strength for the seasons ahead. If you want the best lawn in your Northwest neighbourhood, don’t put your hoses or sprinklers away until the ground starts to freeze.
Providing oxygen and nutrients to the soil in your yard will give you a much richer growing experience in the spring. Aeration and fertilization also reduces the risk of powerful fertilizers in the spring that can harm your plants if you’re not careful. Either use an aerator or use a service for your lawn and add some natural compost to your soil where needed. If you don’t have your own compost, consider buying natural composts from local farms and garden centers. You can even get some compost from HOP, a commercial composter start-up from Calgary!
It’s important to know when the right time is to begin harvesting your garden. This not only depends on when your crops are ripe, but also on the length of your growing season. For Calgary, that time is now. If you have a few too many veggies, consider giving some to a neighbour, a charity, or preserving them by making jams or pickling. Preserving your own food is a fun challenge and ensures that you’re not adding needless food waste to the waste stream!
These little worms (vermicomposting) can help kickstart your vegetable garden and houseplants! Read below to learn how. Photo credit: Green Calgary
Get yourself some worms of the composting variety, keep them in a bin indoors and feed them most of your fruit and veggie scraps over the winter months. In spring, you can harvest their castings to kickstart your vegetable garden and beautiful houseplants! It’s quite easy to do and worm castings are one of the most sought after natural fertilizers.
Looking for more information on how to make your home green all year round? Visit Green Calgary’s Tip Sheet section, where you can learn more about different green initiatives.
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and inspiration about the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.