Fall Garden Cleanup in St. Johns, Arizona

 Chilies NOT going to ripen before frost

Chilies NOT going to ripen before frost.

I recently ran across a Facebook post that suggested people should leave leaves on the lawn all winter to increase fertility and reduce fall clean-up work.  I wasn’t surprised when multiple gardeners from all over the world jumped right in and said all the things I was thinking: Mow them first or they will created dead patches on the lawn, pick them up and compost them before adding them so bad critters don’t overwinter in them, they will rot and make a stinky mess…

…and then I remembered that we don’t have big deciduous leaves where I am. Nor do we get enough moisture in the winter to either rot or compost leaves, chopped or not. I don’t have much of a lawn, because it is too expensive and environmentally irresponsible to grow big swaths of grass in such an arid climate, using city water. But I do have fall clean-up chores and I do appreciate any way that I can reduce my fall gardening chores. 

This year, I have been very busy with my son and his family moving in with me, so I made a list of the absolute requirements for garden cleanup, and the rest is going to have to wait until it freezes, or whenever I get to it. My goals for this day included:




  • Get rid of all the fruiting plants that either have no fruits, or which fruits are too small and immature to mature before frost. 
  • Any garden bed that is empty, add compost or manure or both
  • Trim all the trees that had damage, and trim the locust trees for shape*
  • Harvest everything usable and process it
  • Mow ALL the weeds, lawn, orchard “grass”, between raised beds, and paths

It isn’t a huge list, I know, but I do have 13 raised beds, 7 compost bins, a small grape vineyard, and a greenhouse that needed this treatment, and I can’t run the lawn mower (my favorite weed/leaf-chopping tool) while people in the house are sleeping, so time is always an issue. But I was blessed with a 30 day weekend due to Columbus Day, so I tackled the uprooting of the fruiting plants first. 

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This $39 Handheld Vacuum Is Perfect for Quick Cleanup in the Kitchen, Car and Everywhere, Really



a close up of a bottle: bissell.com


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The other day I knocked over my pinch bowl full of salt and made a huge mess all over my spice cabinet, counter and newly cleaned floors. It all stayed there until I finally lugged up our heavy vacuum from the basement to clean it all up. Next thing I know, I’m scrolling Amazon for handheld vacuums and came across this BISSELL AeroSlim Lithium Ion Cordless Handheld Vacuum. With hundreds of 5-star ratings and a price tag of $39, I don’t think I could have hit “Buy Now” any faster.

etg – 39.99 Available at Amazon

This sleek vacuum is small enough to keep on the kitchen counter and, according to the reviews, strong enough to pick up everything from coffee grounds to pet hair with ease. It comes with a 2-in-1 crevice tool and dusting brush, which makes cleaning up messes in tricky areas—like my spice cabinet—effortless. Other areas I’ll be targeting when I get this handy vacuum will be the stairs (I can’t tell you how much dog hair collects there) and my powder room (it’s just too small for my big vacuum).



a close up of a bottle: With a price tag of $39 and hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon, this handheld vacuum is a must.


© bissell.com
With a price tag of $39 and hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon, this handheld vacuum is a must.

Related: 6 Filthy Places in Your Kitchen You Should Be Cleaning Every Day

The USB charger means you can power-up the lithium ion battery just like you do your cell phone, in the house or the car. Some reviewers even said that they love this vacuum so much they have one for the house and the car. While the battery only lasts for 12 minutes, it’s really all you need for quick cleanups.

And as if I needed another reason to buy this handheld vacuum, every purchase of a BISSELL vacuum supports the BISSELL Pet Foundation, whose mission is to help save homeless pets. Sold!

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Interior Post Construction Cleanup Tips

There is nothing worse than bringing contractors in to do a construction project only to find that once they have finished the job, they have left their mess behind. Construction site cleanup is part of the construction industry and it can be a messy job, but someone has to do it. You can make your life easier by cleaning as you go for starters, and that should help reduce the burden of the final cleanup to a degree. While it's impossible to cover every aspect of a proper construction cleaning project, a good place to start would be to remove trash and debris on a daily basis, particularly wood and paint particles which can pose as dangerous fire hazards.

There are plenty of construction companies that might make use of a separate contractor to do the cleanup for them since it can save a lot of time and money by bringing in specialists (dependent on the size of the job). It is always wise to do a walk-through prior to the start of cleanup for the supervisor to find out exactly what the construction manager's expectations are with regard to cleanup. This will also help to prevent a poor final product (when the project is completed).

So, what does construction site cleanup really entail? In general, any scuffs, hand and finger smudges, dust and dirt need to be wiped down off the walls and the same goes for trim, baseboards, windows, door frames and handrails. The ceilings will also need a good dust and the removal of any cobwebs that have sprung up. Doors need to be cleaned down- which may include the front, back, sides and the top, and don't forget about the hinges. Any masonry will need to be vacuumed and cleaned as instructed. All of the carpeting throughout the project will need to be vacuumed as well. Wood, tile or marble should be buffed, waxed and sealed. You will need to clean the tracks, frames and glass on windows. Be sure to clean any of the light fixtures and ceiling fans dust tends to accumulate. Wall & ceiling vents, and floor vents will also be need to vacuumed, and in the case of floor vents they will need to be removed so that you can vacuum as deep as the attachments will allow. Electrical outlets and switches need cleaned since may they gather dust and hand smudges. That is just the basic cleaning inside, it does not encompass the specific cleaning required in a bathroom, kitchen or the entry way. Not to mention any mirrors and cabinets throughout the house, as well as removing any of the manufacturer's stickers that are not required.

On the topic of manufacturers, you should not forget the importance of which cleaning chemicals should and shouldn't be used. Only cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer should be used, as the wrong chemical can cause irreparable damage and will set your project back as you have to replace any damaged items, especially things …

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