Plant, stow and protect are three activities that will ensure your garden wakes up as fresh as a daisy next spring.
Plant perennials, shrubs and trees in autumn to give them a head start next spring. The cool temperatures, warm soil and frequent rains facilitate root growth. Be sure to plant three weeks before the first hard freeze in your area. If the plants are balled and burlaped, give them six weeks to settle in before the first hard freeze. Three weeks is enough time for container grown plants to get established.
Plant daffodils, tulips and other spring flowering bulbs. I know I sound like a broken record on this topic, but one of the greatest joys of gardening is seeing bulb foliage peeking up from the ground in early spring.
Put your tools away for winter. I push the blades of my hand tools into a bucket filled with sand and mineral oil.
Empty and store all your containers. If a potted container will remain outdoors for winter, remove the saucer so it won’t sit in water.
Drain garden hoses and store for winter.
Protect Plants in Winter
Apply mulch after the ground freezes. Mulch adds a layer of insulation for plant roots and keeps the soil temperature even, which prevents heaving.
A hoop of concrete reinforcing wire covered with a frost blanket is an easy way to make a cold frame. Make the top of the arch about 24 inches above your plants and be sure the frost blanket falls over the open ends of the wire hoop.
Invest in a few frost blankets. Frost blankets are a convenient way to protect plants from early frosts. They are especially useful for extending the growing season for cool weather vegetables such as lettuce.