4. Save fall leaves for a good spring tonic.
You can pile stacks of fallen leaves behind shrubs, store leaves in plastic garbage bags (poke the plastic full of air holes) or just let the leaves lie on top of the soil the way nature intended. Fallen leaves provide winter homes for salamanders, newts and frogs, but also decay into a rich spring soil supplement called leaf mold. The remains of your fallen leaves can be added to potting soils, new garden beds or just spread about the base of trees and shrubs as a natural way to improve your soil.
5. Compost summer annuals and potting soil.
Recycle petunias, begonias, lobelias and all your other summer bedding plants into your soil if you don’t have a dedicated compost pile. Used potting soil can be dug into your soil and recycled as well. Potting soil often contains small pieces of white perlite that helps to add air and drainage to wet Western Washington soil.
6. Protect your summer blooming bulbs from winter rains.
Dahlia tubers left in the ground can be saved from rotting if you cut them back and cover the area with sword fern fronds or a tarp to keep out winter rains. Canna, eucomis and gladiolas are other summer bloomers that tend to rot in our climate, so protect them from moisture if left in the ground.