Annuals and Containers
- Empty and clean out spent annual containers.
- Store clay pots indoors, since they can break in freezing weather.
- Smash up cracked or broken pots to use as drainage in next year’s containers.
- Plant colorful winter annuals such as pansies and ornamental cabbages.
Despite the winterizing benefits of phosphorus, some chemical products are phosphorus-free to comply with local pollution regulations.
- Continue to mow cool-season grasses until they stop growing.
- Rake lawns and remove debris. Recycle leaves as mulch.
- November is the traditional time to apply winterizing fertilizer to your lawn (higher potassium and phosphorus, and lower nitrogen). Apply after grass stops growing but at least a month before the ground freezes.
Fruits and Vegetables
- Till the soil in your vegetable beds and add organic matter or compost to be ready for early spring planting.
- Cut back asparagus tops after they turn yellow.
- Enjoy the final harvest!
- Cut back on feeding houseplants.
- As the days shorten, houseplants will need less water, but make sure they get enough humidity.
- Be on the lookout for spider mites and other pests that can be found in indoor, climate-controlled environment.
- If you have chilled bulbs for the holidays, start forcing them by placing the pots in a relatively cool spot (60º F) with indirect sunlight. Increase temperature and light as green growth and buds appear. Plan for buds within 3-4 weeks.
Cleanup and Maintenance
- Clean up leaves before they suffocate your lawn and garden. Use them as mulch around plants, or in between planting rows in the vegetable garden, or add them to the compost bin. Up to 1” of leaves can be mown and mulched into your lawn.
- Remove fallen leaves that get caught in the foliage of shrubs and groundcovers.
- Take off any diseased or pest-infested foliage.
- “Tuck in” your perennial, vegetable, bulb, and strawberry beds with a layer of mulch. Heavily mulch plants that are susceptible to the cold.
- Add organic material under (or in place of) the mulch.
- Discourage munching critters like squirrels and rabbits by lightly piling evergreen boughs over plants and vegetables.
- Clean, sharpen, and oil garden tools.
- Drain and store garden hoses and protect outdoor faucets from freezing weather.
- Winterize your garden and lawn machinery according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Fill up bird feeders for overwintering birds.
- Make a safe place to store some hardwood fireplace ashes for use in next year’s garden.
- If you have fish in your garden pond, continue feeding them until the water temperature drops below 50º F, then stop until the water warms above 50º in spring.
- Move hardy water plants to the deepest part of your pond.
- Stop all watering when the ground freezes.
- Watch the weather, and prolong your enjoyment of veggies and flowers by protecting them on frosty nights.
- Keep adding to your compost pile, even though it will slow down in cold weather.