Northern & Central Midwest
Treat and Bring in Houseplants
If houseplants aren't already indoors, make sure to bring them in before the temperature drops to forty degrees. Spray them with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to avoid bringing in any traveling critters. Isolate them temporarily to avoid infecting other plants.
Mulch Root Crops
Put a thick mulch over carrots, beets, Jerusalem artichokes, and turnips to keep harvesting into winter. Make sure to get rid of weeds and water them in well before mulching. Mulch with straw, bags of leaves, or other organic mulch, and mark where the vegetables are.
Lift and Store Tender Bulbs
Tender bulbs will need to be lifted after the foliage is blackened by frost. Lift clumps gently and determine the proper storage for each type of bulb. They generally need to be kept cool and dry for the winter. Put a note on the calendar to check every couple of weeks for rot.
Keep Watering Trees and Shrubs
After our drought this year, don't rely on fall rains to get your woody palnts through the winter. Put out a rain gauge to know how much rain you actually receive, and make sure plants get an inch of water a week until the leaves fall.
Save the Precious Leaves
As leaves fall, either shred them with the mower and blow them back into your beds, or stockpile them in an out-of-the-way spot. They are invaluable mulch, and if you let a pile sit for a year or so, you will have beautiful leaf mold at the bottom of the pile for use in pots and the garden.