- If rainfall has been light, deeply water trees and shrubs before the ground freezes.
- To successfully overwinter half-hardy plants (such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and butterfly bushes), surround them with a wire cage and cover them with a thick layer of dry leaves.
- Force a few bulbs for indoor winter color; plant half now and half in 2 weeks for a longer show.
- Check stored tubers, bulbs, potatoes, onions, and garlic for spoilage and softness.
- Winterize all power tools before storing.
- Sharpen, clean, and repair hand tools before storing them.
Clean and fill bird feeders.
- Rid the garden of plant debris that might allow diseases and pests to survive the winter.
- Wrap the trunks of young trees to protect their tender bark from winter injury.
- Don't remove snow and ice from evergreens—rescue efforts may do more harm than good.
- Clean up all dropped fruit and other debris from beneath fruit trees.
- Cut lawn grass short now—tall grasses can become moldy beneath snow cover.
- After the ground freezes, cover perennials with mulch to keep frost-thaw cycles from heaving them out of the ground.
Turn the compost pile and add water if it feels dry.
- Plant garlic cloves and shallots 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart; mulch with 6 inches of straw or shredded leaves.
- Dig up remaining root crops.
- Still time to haul in a pot of parsley: Pot it, water well, and set in a bright window.
- Don't remove chrysanthemum foliage—leave it to protect the crown.
- Cut back other perennials (except spring bloomers, roses, and grasses) to a few inches above soil level.
- Prune tea roses back to 8 to 12 inches high, mound compost around the bud union, then cover with a rose cone.
Dig the hole for planting live Christmas trees now—before the soil freezes.
- Finish cleanup—gather leaves for the compost pile or for winter mulch on beds.
- Don't miss your last chance to plant spring-blooming bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips.
- Continue to thin lettuce and spinach.
- Mulch crops you want to overwinter with a thick layer of straw.
- Harvest frost-sweetened Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, and kale.
- Don't cut back ornamental grasses; they add beauty to the landscape and provide shelter for overwintering beneficials and wildlife.
Cut back other perennials (except spring bloomers, roses, and mums) to a few inches above soil level.
- Cover lettuce, chard, spinach, sorrel, chives, and parsley with floating row covers, before the first hard freeze.
- Continue to plant trees and shrubs.
- Set out new strawberries or move rooted runners early this month.
- Sow poppy seeds now for flowers next May.
- Gather leaves to add to the compost pile or to shred and use as winter mulch.
- Pot up a clump of mint, let it freeze one time, then bring it indoors for snipping throughout the winter.
Feed leeks, then hill up soil around them to begin the blanching process.
- Fruit trees will arrive at nurseries for fall planting; shop early for the best selection.
- Harvest cold-sensitive veggies—such as tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers—that you planted in July.
- Under row covers, plant cool-loving crops, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, peas, carrots, kale, radishes, mustard, turnips, beets, and spinach.
- Plant more cilantro, parsley, and fennel.
- Plant strawberries (‘Chandler', ‘Sweet Charlie', and ‘Sequoia') so plants will be established by spring.
Sow seeds of poppies, larkspur, and delphiniums for early spring color.
- Pull up tomato plants, roots and all, to hang in a protected place; pick fruits as they ripen.
- Plant prechilled spring-flowering bulbs early this month.
- Plant garlic, shallots, fava beans, onion sets, and leeks.
- Harvest Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, turnips, collards, and kale after frost sweetens their flavor.
- Cover spinach and lettuce with floating row covers to protect them from frost.
- Broadcast wildflower seed, then lightly rake it in, for a bright spring show.
Spread compost or composted manure around citrus trees to encourage spring growth and blossoming.
- See that the garden receives at least an inch of water a week (from either rainfall or you).
- If a freeze is predicted, soak the ground (not the plants), then cover everything with straw, row covers, or protective material.
- Plant successive runs of tender, fast-growing greens, such as cilantro and chervil.
- Harvest beans, peas, lettuce, squashes, carrots, cucumbers, early melons, and kale.
- Continue to harvest ripening fruit; clean up unusable fruits that fall to prevent disease.
- Continue to start tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, but be prepared to protect tender seedlings from cold.
- Cut back raspberries.
- Feed roses some low-nitrogen, organic fertilizer.
- Plant callas, gladioli, and dahlias for spring and summer bloom.
Learn more about cleaning up the garden in fall.