There’s still time to plant. To ensure roots have plenty of time to grow, you want all new additions to the landscape — including spring flowering bulbs and hardy garlic — tucked into soil about 6 weeks before it freezes.
If you are planting late in the season, give your plantings a leg up by applying a thick mulch (up to 4 inches) of chopped leaves, pine straw, compost, or straw. This will insulate soil enough to postpone a freeze.
Make sure to keep an eye out for rodents. Mice especially love to nest in mulch through winter, and voles love nothing better than a thick cover to burrow beneath.
Leftover Leaves: Fallen leaves provide over-wintering shelter for insects. It’s a good idea to allow a few leaves to remain beneath shrubs to harbor insects — good and bad — which can help feed hungry birds in spring.
On the other hand, leaves piled up against a shed, garage, or home can shelter and provide cover for pests — including rodents — seeking winter quarters. Remove these leaves. Chop them and use them as mulch, or add them to the compost pile.
Gather stakes and plant supports from the garden. Store them in a spot where they’ll freeze to help destroy over-wintering pests.
- Run the gas out of the mower. You can add fuel stabilizer to the mower if the tank is more than halfway full. Just be sure to run the mower a bit to circulate the stabilizer through the engine.
- Prepare your mower now for spring use. Sharpen the blade. Check and/or replace the air filter, which tends to clog up when you chop lots of fall leaves.
- With battery-powered mowers, store your battery according to manual instructions.
- Make sure your snow blower is fueled and ready to go.