Northern & Central Midwest
Pot up some spring-flowering bulbs for indoor forcing. Crocus and hyacinth bulbs stored for eight weeks in the back of your refrigerator will produce blooms three weeks after they are brought into a warmer room. Narcissus (daffodils) and tulips require 12 to 14 weeks of cold treatment and should be potted up before chilling.
Clean Planters Before Storing
Outdoor planters, hanging baskets, and window boxes should be emptied and washed thoroughly with soap and a mild bleach solution before storing for next year. Store plastic, clay, and concrete containers where they will not get wet or freeze to avoid cracking and breaking.
Water all needle and broadleaf evergreens one last time before the ground freezes. Since these plants don't go completely dormant, winter wind and sun will continue to cause the plants to transpire water through their leaves all winter. Excess water loss can lead to winter burn or death.
Wrap Young Tree Trunks
Protect young trees from the chewing of mice, voles, rabbits, and other pests by wrapping the trunks with hardware cloth or hard plastic at least 1 to 2 feet higher up the trunk than the expected snow level. Clear away weeds, tall grass, and leaves from the trunk area to reduce nesting sites.
Clean and Service Equipment
This is a good time to clean, sharpen, and oil garden tools and equipment. Oil and store gas-powered equipment like lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Repair shops are in a slow period (at least until the snow flies and snowblowers need repair) so arrange for a tune-up and blade sharpening now.