Prevent Heaving Perennials
If your area happens to get a midwinter thaw, check perennial plants to see if any have been heaved up by freezing and thawing. Don't stomp them back into the ground, however. Instead, cover each with a protective mulch of straw or evergreen branches and let them settle back in on their own as the ground thaws in spring.
Update Plant Records
Use some of your time this winter to update your plant records, adding to your written notes or starting a notebook for your garden. Check plants and make new labels for lost or damaged ones. A wide variety of metal, plastic, or wood labels are available. Use a permanent marker for writing on the labels.
As you work your way through all those flower and vegetable seed catalogs and Web sites, trying to pick and choose what you want to grow this year, go first for the tried and true, those that have done well for you in the past. Then fill in with some new varieties. When in doubt, go for All American Selections (AAS) award winners. These varieties have been tested across the country by professionals and are good bets to perform well in your garden.
Spray Dormant Oil
To kill overwintering insects and their eggs on evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees, spray plants with dormant oil spray, following manufacturer\'s directions. The oil suffocates pests such as aphids, lace bugs, mealybugs, mites, scale, and whiteflies. Apply when the temperature is above 40F and won\'t drop below freezing for 4 hours. Spray trunks, branches, stems, and both sides of leaves until the oil drips off the surface.
In trying to get as much light as possible for your houseplants, it's tempting to place them as close as possible to window panes. However, the tender leaves can be killed if they touch the windowpane during cold weather. It's better to move them back from the window a little bit or close the curtains or blinds during cold nights.