Rites of fall

Although the brightest blooms and biggest harvests passed with the equinox, your garden still has much to offer well into winter, from beautiful annuals to a bounty of winter crops.

But making a garden work for you year-round means that you can't sit out the cool months. The good news is, the maintenance and planting you do now will pay off in big dividends during the winter doldrums, delivering everything from fresh veggies to daffodils and tulips galore.

Before you do anything, however, you'll have to undertake a good fall cleaning.

Remove all your malingering tomatoes and other crops. Even if it seems like you might be able to stretch the harvest, those tired-out vines can be hiding slugs, snails and other destructive critters, said Fionuala Campion, the manager of Cottage Gardens of Petaluma.

Old tomato and squash vines by October and November may also have mildew and fungal issues.

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