Family-Friendly DIY Dog Toys



We get it--every time you’re at the pet store, your kids beg to buy more toys for the pup. As you make a beeline for the pet food, you wonder if you can create better versions of those fancy, expensive, and often flimsy toys. Not only can you improve on the originals, you can have fun while you’re at it!

#1 Good Squeaky Fun

Have a pair of denim jeans you no longer wear? Put them to good use by creating your own squeaky toy! You’ll need the squeaker from an old toy, or a replacement squeaker (sold in multipacks by Kong).

Cut both layers of the back pockets out of the pants, and place them back-to-back with the squeaker in between. Use a loop stitch and a tough needle to sew the pockets together, and let your pet chew to their heart’s delight!

#2 Ball Toss

Wrap a t-shirt around a tennis ball, and seal off one edge with tight rubber bands. Then, cut the section that hangs off to create a fringe. Perfect to toss and play with, on repeat!

#3 Tough-Enough Rope

Perfect for tug-of-war, this toy is durable enough for light-to-medium chewing action, too. You’ll need an old towel, and can optionally use electrician’s tape to seal the ends.

Tear or cut the towel lengthwise into 9 even strips. Braid each set of 3 together, using tape to secure the braids next to each other on a flat work surface. Then, wrap them all into one big braid. You can create big, tight knots to secure each end, or add several tightly coiled layers of electrician’s tape instead.

For a super-colorful toy, use two color-contrasting towels and alternate the strips.

#4 2-in-1 Toy & Treat

Core a sweet potato through the center, then slice it so that each piece has a hole in the center. Use a dehydrator to dry out the sweet potato slices, or bake them in the oven at 250° F for 3 hours. Finally, string the pieces onto a rope, and tie it off at each end. This long-lasting treat and toy is sure to be a hit!

#5 Puzzle Ball

Dogs get bored easily when they aren’t being challenged...and what’s more motivating than food? Create your own doggy puzzle with just a tennis ball!

Use a knife to cut the tennis ball along one side of the white seam. Place a couple of non-perishable treats inside, then tuck the flap into the other side of the seam. The rubber will help keep it in place...but with chewing (and ingenuity) your pup will get the treats out!

The ball can be refilled, and should last for several uses, depending on how heavy a chewer your dog is.

Need a playtime buddy for your pup, or a pet-sitter while you’re traveling? Turn to Rover.com for all of your pet care needs!


Written by Nat Smith, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation's largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

Prepare Your Bedroom for the Upcoming Winter


Even though winter doesn’t officially start until December 21st, the moment Thanksgiving is over we find ourselves thinking of Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve. We take time and carefully plan our holidays, family trips to visit friends and grandparents, and Christmas dinners, and we take time to decorate our homes, but we seldom focus on bedrooms. Bedroom is like a sanctuary and an oasis of peace, and just as you prepare your garden and your house for the winter, you should also prepare your bedroom.

Warm your bed

You know the drill: you get inside and you wish for nothing else than to curl underneath your blankets until you feel warm and cozy. If you’re always cold and would like nothing else than to walk around in a fluffy onesie and warm PJs, you could fulfill your need for warmth by bringing an electric blanket in your bedroom. This will keep you nice and warm when you’re watching a movie in your bed, but it will not be as massive as a big space heater. If you don’t like the idea of electric blanket, a simple plastic bottle filled with warm water and placed under the sheets will do the trick too.

Winter decoration

With Christmas practically knocking on our door, we have already decorated our yard, porch, front door, and set up a huge Christmas tree in the living room. Just as you carefully prepare for winter holidays in your living room (and kitchen), you should pay attention to your bedroom as well. Why not place a nice scented candle on your bedside table or use fairy lights to transform your ordinary room into a real winter wonderland? You don’t have to bring in a ton of ornaments, but a nice wreath on your window or a paper garland on your closet will bring a bit of festive air to the room and you’ll love it.

Protect your feet

The easiest way to get sick in winter is to walk around barefoot and not protecting your feet from the cold. You might not be able to wear an extra cozy pair of fleece socks to work, but you can easily keep one in your bedroom, in a drawer of your nightstand in case you get cold and can’t fall asleep. Also, a nice pair of warm slippers will be great too, especially for keeping your socks clean. Another great way to make sure your feet are nice and warm is to place a fluffy rug at the foot of your bed. This way getting out of the warm bed in the morning won’t be so traumatic because your feet will always land on something nice and soft.

Insulate your windows

Windows allow you to enjoy the view without actually having to go outside and freeze unless they aren’t properly insulated. In that case, you can get a taste of the outside weather even though you don’t really want it. Insulating your windows means that you will keep the warmth inside and lower your bills at the same time. Experts from Marchants Blinds recommend getting a plastic insulation kit, rubber seal and some high-quality heavy drapes, which will not only look great, but also will help in keeping the warm air inside too.
As the days continue to get shorter and the temperature’s dropping lower and lower, you might want to spend all your free time in the comfort of your home. If you take time and prepare your bedroom for the upcoming winter, you will find that the season itself isn’t so bad, especially when you can curl up under a soft blanket and watch the snowflakes from the comfort of your own bed.

Bio: David Koller is a freelance blogger passionately interested in minor house fixes and home décor.

Get Your Last Minute Gifts At Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory


If your looking for some amazing last minute gifts then look no further! Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has gifts for anyone left on your list! They carry such a wide variety of treats you will never run out of ideas! They even carry the most delicious candy apples I have ever eaten in my life! Here is the amazing variety I have been nibbling on this holiday season!




And here is some fascinating information about the company!

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is an international franchisor, confectionery manufacturer and retail operator in the United States, Canada, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. The Company is based in the charming historical town of Durango located on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado. From its 53,000 square foot factory, the Company manufactures an extensive line of premium chocolate candies and other confectionery products to supply its many franchise locations, delivered fresh by its fleet of refrigerated trucks.

The factory typically produces approximately 300 chocolate candies and other confectionery products, using proprietary recipes developed primarily by its master candy maker. These products include many varieties of clusters, caramels, creams, meltaways, truffles and molded chocolates. Individual stores prepare a variety of caramel and candy apples, fudge, chocolate items and confections in full view of the customer using traditional cooking utensils such as copper kettles on gas-fired stoves and marble slab cooling tables.
In 1985 the Company went public and is now traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol "RMCF".

PUR attitude Love Your Body Gift Set

PUR attitude is wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season in a big way this year!

Each product in the PUR attitude line is dermatologist tested and approved, backed by independent clinical studies, and follows the brand’s standards for “Safe Beauty,” avoiding harsh chemicals, parabens, PEG’s, glycols, sulfates, petro-chemicals, synthetic fragrances and artificial dyes. PUR attitude products contain only safe beauty ingredients and are not diluted with water. More than 1,300 chemicals have been banned from the company’s lab, which adheres to strict EU standards. All formulations for the brand were developed by David Pollock, a beauty innovation chemist with more than 20 years of experience formulating products for some of the most recognized names in the industry.







(Featured above: PUR attitude Love Your Body Gift Set—includes: Caviar Anti-Aging Hair Shampoo, Caviar Anti-Aging Hair Conditioner, Foaming Bamboo Almond Scrub)

#purattitude #puregoodness #safebeauty

The Top 3 Tips to Taking Care of Your Sewing Scissors


Sewing is a lifetime skill which can be valuable at home or at work. Wouldn’t it be nice if the tools of your craft could serve you for a long, long time, maybe even for a lifetime? For sewing enthusiasts, a good pair of sewing scissors would be the next most important possession to the sewing machine. The Embroidery Machine Reviews can give you the best guide to sewing scissors that are available online. There are many types to choose from, which suit the needs of a dressmaker or tailor or any crafter. A good pair of fabric scissors can be an expensive investment in your craft, but when handled properly and kept well-maintained can last for many years. Here are three tips to guide you in caring for your sewing scissors to be ready for use at all times.

1.  Use it for fabrics only.
If you want to keep your sewing scissors, sharp and always in tip-top shape, then use it only
for the purpose it was bought. Use it exclusively on fabrics. Cutting other materials other than fabric can make its blades dull more quickly. So, stifle the urge to use your sewing scissors
when it is the nearest one available when cutting paper. Make sure also that you don’t cut on pins or wires attached to the fabric. It can damage the blades and even make it duller. Have a
spare pair of scissors for cutting other materials than cloth instead.

2.  Clean and store it properly.
Wipe your sewing scissors with a soft and dry cloth every after use to avoid lint from fabrics to accumulate and may cause it to become dull. Keep your scissors in a dry place to avoid contact with moisture or water which can cause it to rust. Usually, a good pair of scissors come with a case or a sleeve to keep it safe and dry when not in use. Avoid dropping your fabric scissors as their blades might be knocked out of alignment. When this happens, your scissors will not be as efficient as it was before or sometimes can be rendered useless. It is best if you have a safe storage where you can easily find it when you need it and store it when not in use.

3.  Have it sharpened regularly.
Any pair of scissors can get dull eventually, after so many uses even with proper handling and maintenance. Cutting fabrics can become quite a tough task when this happens, especially when cutting a thick one. But there is no need to buy a new pair because you can always have it sharpened by a professional knife sharpener. You can ask your local fabric store or sewing machine repair shop if they have sharpening and cleaning services for your shears and have it done regularly. This way, you are sure to be able to use your sewing scissors for a long time and function as good as new.

A pair of high-quality sewing scissors is a sure good investment, especially when handled with care and proper maintenance. You can be sure that it will serve you well with your sewing projects for as long as it can if you follow these easy tips as best as you can.

Home Insurance: Everything That You Should Know

When you purchase a home of your own, whether this is something that you do fresh out of college or slightly later in life once you have started a family, it is important that you take steps to protect it. A house is the biggest investment that you will ever make, which is why putting adequate precautions in place to protect it and your financial investment, is so important.

With that in mind, below is a guide to home insurance and everything that you should know about it. Read on for an in-depth look at the ins and outs of home insurance and what it is crucial that you know about it.


Every home needs a policy

There is a common misconception that insurance is not always necessary. However this is not the case. A lot of homeowners ask is homeowners insurance mandatory? The answer is that while it is not mandatory, it is something that every homeowner should have in place. Otherwise, should the worst happen, the cost of home repairs may not be affordable, which could mean that their home ends up being unfixable. Whether your home catches on fire, is damaged in a flood, or is broken into, having adequate homeowners insurance in place is vital.

There are various options to choose from

The good news is that when it comes to taking out adequate insurance for your home, there are various options to choose from. From different insurance companies to different policies, there are plenty of options on offer. That’s why comparison tools can be so beneficial, as these give you the ability to compare different policies and decide which option is the best fit for your circumstances. Take the time to look at your options, and you are sure to find an insurance policy that is a perfect fit for yours’ and your home’s needs.

It can be more affordable than you think

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that taking out insurance will be too expensive because that does not have to be the case. Believe it or not, there are plenty of options in terms of pricing, so don’t let the price of taking out insurance put you off. Take the time to look at each option available to you, and then pick the one that is the best fit for your financial circumstances. Whether that is paying in full for the year’s policy or it is paying per month, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you have adequate insurance cover in place.

The fact is that home insurance is vital for any homeowner, and is not something that should be compromised on. If you want to protect your home and your finances from whatever life may throw at you, it pays to have adequate protection in place. The process of taking out an insurance policy does not have to be a complex or costly one; it is just a case of taking the time to find the right insurance option for you and your home.

How To Make Your Castle Unattractive To Burglars



There’s a saying that goes ‘a home is a man’s castle’ - but without the drawbridge, patrolling guards and moat. Your home isn’t built like a fortress, but you still need to make it an impenetrable building to intruders. By intruders we mean burglars. And by impenetrable we mean completely unattractive without making your home look ugly. You want to feel safe in your home, no matter what time of year it is, or even if you’re in the country. So, how do you do it?


Camera, Lights, Action!

Light up the area around your house like it’s a Broadway musical, with the burglar alarm ready to belt out the opening number, and the security camera set to broadcast the performance of bumbling thief to cops everywhere. And don’t be shy about it. If your security measures are easily visible, then any potential thief is going to think thrice before making an attempt on your home.


Surprise!

You know that odd neighbour that pops round with a ‘cooee’ and a lasagne at random points during the day? You need to encourage that behaviour - just, perhaps, with friends and family. If your home is seen to have people popping in and out at all times, with no discernable pattern, there will be a window of opportunity for a burglar to make his move.


Zip, Padlock, Throw Away The Key

Or pop it in your pocket - you don’t want to lose that. Having multiple locks on your doors is a great idea, just make sure that you’re not locking yourself in if an emergency happens. A sliding or turning deadbolt is always going to be the better option than one that requires a key. You want to keep thieves out, but you need to get out there too if there’s a fire.


A Hairdresser’s Inch

You know when you go for a haircut and just want a tiny bit off the bottom of your waist long hair, and you end up with a bob? Well, use that enthusiasm on your garden shrubbery. An overgrown garden can provide a multitude of hiding places, so make sure that everything is trimmed back and tidy in the front and back - no garden mullets allowed.


Going In The Backdoor

Is precisely what a burglar will try if he sees a weakness there. Just because there’s a fence separating you from the street does not mean that you can go lax on your security. Use the same techniques you use on the front of your house for a well-rounded system.


Good Neighbours Become Good Friends

It’s sad how many people won’t get that reference… However, it’s very true. When you jet set across the globe to sip martinis at the Eiffel Tower, have a friendly neighbour pop in at check on your house, they can also remove the tell-tale signs or your absence, like the pile of letters on your porch. And when you are at home, it’s never a bad thing to have another set of eyes looking out for you. If something a bit dodge is happening at one end of the street, a simple message in a group chat will have everyone aware and looking out for trouble.

Expert Advice on Saving Money this Holiday Season







It's that time of year again! Time to whip out your cash or card and purchase a present or two for the people that mean the most to you in your life. However, there is a fine line between being generous and putting yourself in a ton of holiday debt.


According to the Post-Crescent, shoppers are estimated to spend anywhere between $950 and $1200 on holiday gifts alone in 2017. That's a lot of money when most people have bills, gas, and food to pay for. If possible, experts say you should do your best to not overspend so that your bank account isn't terribly upset come January. 


Alan Prahl is education and marketing manager for the nonprofit Financial Information and Service Center, and Ryan Paape is a certified financial planner. The two have some great insight into doing your best to save during the spendiest time of the year. 


Prahl says one of the best things you can do is set a budget for yourself. Now, that isn't limited to just gifts, this also includes food, decorations, and anything else you may need for the rest of the month.


“Write down each person’s name, gift ideas and the spending limit on them. Keep your shopping list with you," says Prahl. "Cross off gifts or names as you work through your list. Sure, you can substitute gifts if you find something even better than what’s on your list, but stick to your pre-set spending amount.” 


Paape also says that one easy way to save money this holiday season while still being able to give people the gifts they deserve is to give them the gift of time or make them something special. 


“Maybe you’re tech-savvy. It could be the gift of an afternoon to help parents or grandparents figure out their email and electronics. Make a homemade card and say, ‘here’s my gift to you.’ It’s unexpected. It’s something that doesn’t require money but will make a huge impact. If you’re a parent, you could take an afternoon off to go sledding or skating with a child. It’s good quality time one-on-one. Those are the types of memories that children remember forever.”


Following the tips of Paape and Prahl will help you save money during the holidays, while still being able to give your loved ones presents. 


In terms of businesses, it's important to get bills and other important information out to customers on time, especially during this time of year. By using electronic billing, your customers will be able to quickly and efficiently pay their bills and won't be struggling to pay after getting a statement in the mail last minute. Electronic billing can actually help businesses lead to more responsive customers and help cut collections time. 


By saving and getting bills paid on time, consumers will be able to avoid putting themselves in major debt once the holidays have come to an end.

Here’s What You Can Do to Beat Holiday Stress



The holidays are nearly here, and for anyone with kids or family, this can potentially be the most stressful time of the year. You’ve got parties to plan, gifts to buy and budgets to handle, just to name a few. If you’re already stressed out about the holidays, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve tested out a few tips and tricks to help you beat the holiday stress and really enjoy the season with your family.

1.    Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

It can be terribly tempting to overcommit and try to do everything at once during the holidays. This is especially true if you don’t delegate well or you don’t have anyone you trust to help you with the holiday preparations.

Don’t push yourself too hard. The holidays don’t have to be a nightmare of preparation and running around like a headless chicken. Feel free to say no to holiday parties, social obligations or anything else you feel is too stressful or simply too much for you to handle.

You don’t need to feel bad about saying no. Not only can it be incredibly liberating, but it also allows you to step back and take care of yourself rather than worrying about the needs of others.

2.    Make Your List, Check It Twice 

Shopping might be the most stressful part of the holidays. Did you get the right gifts for everyone? Did you forget someone? Should you pick up a few extra generic gifts in case one of your party attendees brings a plus one?

Stop right there.

Take the time to make a list of all the people you’re going to shop for, and set up a budget to go along with that list. Stick to both of these things closely it will keep you from going into debt for the holidays and make shopping less stressful. Plus, if you’ve got a good plan, you can get your shopping done early and not have to worry about braving the stores at the last minute to pick up something you forgot.

3.    Take Care of Yourself

Holiday stress doesn’t just manifest as mental symptoms it can have physical repercussions too, which make it harder to enjoy the holiday season. Feeling fatigue, enduring headaches and even grinding your teeth can all be signs of excessive stress. Studies have found that anywhere from 50 to 96 percent of adults grind their teeth at some point, and the number gets higher during stressful situations like the holidays.

Take the time to take care of yourself during the holidays. Schedule a spa day, take a hot bubble bath or just find 10 minutes to meditate whatever works to help you relax. You’ll be able to approach your tasks refreshed and without the stress you were carrying around before.

4.    Focus on What Is Important

What are the most important things for you during this holiday season? For most people, that short list probably includes things like vacations, time spent with family and maybe even giving gifts. Figure out what is most important to you and focus on that anything that doesn’t make the list gets lower priority. Assigning priority to these things helps you sort out the things that are most important. Work parties would be lower down on the list than a child’s Christmas pageant, for example.

Again, don’t be afraid to say no. The holiday is about family. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

5.    Pare Down Your Friends List

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration so what do you do if you have a Grinch in your life that keeps dragging you down? We’ve all encountered toxic people at one time or another in our lives, the kind of person that carries negativity around with them like a demented umbrella and uses it to pull other people down, too.

The holidays are a great time to pare down your friends list and cut off ties with those toxic individuals once and for all.

6.    Be Grateful

The holidays are a time when you’re expected to say thank you a lot. You thank people for giving you gifts, for showing up to your party or for remembering to bring plates. Have you ever really stopped to think about the concept of gratitude?

Strive to be grateful in every aspect of your life especially during the holidays. Be grateful for everything the bed you wake up in, the air in your lungs, the sun shining overhead and everything in between.

7.    Ask for Help

Don’t try to do everything yourself, no matter how self-sufficient you are during the holidays. If you start getting overwhelmed or stressed out, step back and ask for help. You don’t need to shoulder everything, even if it might seem that way.

Make sure, though, that the person or people you’re asking for help aren’t going to add to your stress. You really don’t need help from someone who is going to need micromanagement or is just going to make your life difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t make your job harder than it needs to be.

8.    Don’t Stress if Something Goes Awry

Did you burn the pie or set the Christmas tree on fire? Don’t stress! Take a step back, take a deep breath, shrug off the mistakes and go on with your holiday preparations. When it comes down it to it, there are two words you need to live buy during the holidays: S*** happens. Things will happen that are completely out of your control. Don’t panic over them, and don’t let them ruin your holiday. Just shrug it off and continue to enjoy the festivities with your family.


Stress and the holidays seem to go hand in hand, but they don’t have to. Just follow these simple steps to help keep your stress levels low and your holiday enjoyment high during the coming weeks. 

Swago: Holiday Shopping Edition is Back!



The holidays are close and the online rewards site Swagbucks has a smart and fun way for you to earn and save while you spend. 

Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago! What is SWAGO you ask? It's
a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly.

Click here to get started!

Here’s what you need to know to get your 50 SB Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):
  • Shop Swago will begin on Monday, December 20th at 9am PT/12pm ET, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Friday, December 22nd at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

The Top 5 Benefits Of Individual Sports For Kids

Most people, when talking about sports, only refer to team sports such as football, basketball, baseball, and so on. They swear by the benefits of team sports and they are not wrong to do so; after all, team sports can help an individual learn when to follow, when to lead, and how to work well with others to achieve the same objective. However, the benefits of individual sports such as badminton, lawn tennis, bowling, cycling, golf, figure skating, snowboarding, martial arts, and boxing also shouldn't be overlooked. Without beating about the bush any further, here are the top 5 benefits of individual sports for kids.
  1. Helps your child become self-reliant
Individual sports require the player to be self-reliant. Athletes are entirely and solely responsible for their success. If an athlete wants to achieve victory, he/she cannot rely on anyone else to carry them through to victory. And, if he or she loses, he or she won't be able to blame anyone for his or her failure. Individual sports help an athlete become more responsible for his/her decisions and actions. An individual sport helps your child become self-reliant.  
  1. Individual sports can teach players about teamwork too
Contrary to popular opinion, individual sports can teach players about teamwork too. Sports such as gymnastics can teach players about the importance of teamwork.  After all, when your child competes as an individual in gym events, his/her scores will be added to the overall score of the entire team, and contribute to a team's success. Swimming relay events and track events also operate similarly.
  1. Helps a child compete with other children of a similar skill level
When participating in individual sports such as martial arts, children will only have to compete with other children who boast of a similar skill level. In team sports such as football and basketball, children are often forced to compete with athletes who are older, or who have trained longer. Jiu Jitsu training institutions such as Garden Grove Jiu Jitsu schools ensure that your child has the luxury of competing at his/her own pace.
  1. Helps a child solve problems on his/her own
As we stated earlier, athletes who participate in individual sports, are often left alone to their own devices while on the playing arena. Therefore, they are forced into developing independent thinking. They will be required to problem-solve on their own, think on their feet, and change their tactics and strategies as the game progresses. The participation in an individual sport will also teach a child how to motivate himself/herself.
  1. Helps your child become comfortable in the spotlight
Your child will not be able to hide in a crowded field when he/she is involved in an individual sport. All eyes will be on your child when he/she enters the playing arena; therefore, an individual sport can help a child become comfortable in the spotlight. This process can, in turn, help get rid of stage frights and enable your child to present presentations confidently in class.   

Cheap and Easy Ways to Winterize Your Garden


Your garden is a wonderful investment of your time, energy and money, and as such, it should be protected at all costs. This means that it’s absolutely necessary to button up your plants for the winter so that they don’t get damaged by the cold and you pave the path to a healthy blooming season next year. And it is super cheap if you use your resources properly. Here are some simple tips on winterizing your garden.

Clear and clean

This is the first step in winterizing and it absolutely cannot be avoided. It’s not just cleaning out the weeds – you need to get rid of any dead vegetation, blackened stems, rotten fruit, etc. This way you avoid the risk of insect eggs and diseases invading your plants during their nap. Also, it’s crucial to examine all plants carefully and get rid of the ones that are diseased – basically, get rid of anything that you wouldn’t want there during growing season. Now is the time.

Move away tender plants

Most bulbs and tubers are very gentle and cannot withstand the cold. In order to risk losing them completely, you need to dig them up before winter and place them someplace dark and cool, such as the shed, basement, or garage until spring, when you can replant them again. Some gardeners also like to move their annuals indoors – if you have enough space, it doesn’t hurt to try, and it would be cool to have annuals that actually kept going through the winter. They need cool and bright conditions, so you can try this if you have a glasshouse or an enclosed, bright porch.

A long pre-dormancy drink

Before turning off your water so that the pipes don’t get frozen during winter, give your plants a good, long watering. This is especially important for newly planted shrubs, trees, and perennials. The best time to do this is about a week or two before the ground freezes, so measure your soil temperature regularly, keep track of temperature changes, and follow the weather forecast. Experts from Hose Link remind us that once you have given your plants their pre-dormancy drink and turned the water off for the whole winter, it’s crucial to empty hoses as well as store them away along with other gardening supplies so that they don’t crack from the cold.


An extra layer of mulch

Once the ground freezes, add a layer of mulch around the plants in order to insulate the soil and provide protection from frost heave. The reason we do this once the ground freezes and not before is because the point of layering with mulch is not to keep the plants warm, but rather to keep the soil at a constant temperature until spring so that your plants don’t start growing prematurely. You don’t have to buy mulch, just use shredded leaves and bark you’ve collected, straw and chopped cornstalks. The important thing is that they are all loose, non-compacting materials.

Extra protection for beds that are new

The first season is always the most important when it comes to planting, so if you have any new garden bed, it’s advisable to get additional coverage for it. Garden cloches typically come to mind. They’re not expensive, but you can even avoid buying one and use something simple, like an old window resting on the raised bed.

Dress up

An important part of winterizing is covering your plants so they don’t get destroyed in harsh winter conditions. This stands for trees, shrubs, and especially rose bushes. You don’t have to buy any – fashion your own. Gather old sheets and tablecloth, garbage bags, or large cardboard boxes. Just make sure everything is well secured, so your plants don’t have their clothes blown off in the wind. Also, you’ll need to protect the bark of trees (fruit trees especially) with plastic collars, because rodents tend to eat a ring of bark particularly around young trees.

Once you are done preparing your garden for winter conditions, you can sit back and give yourself a pat on the shoulder. With everything well protected and prepared, the next season will hopefully be a smash of beautiful blooms.

5 Little-Known Facts About Disney Princesses - Nat'l Princess Day is Nov. 18

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