Plant Trees and Shrubs
November through early February is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Roots will continue to grow in our cool winter soils. Early planting results in well-established plants that are better prepared for the stresses of summer. Make sure to firm soil around the roots of plants to remove air pockets and water as needed to keep their root balls moist.
Prepare Soil for Spring Garden Now
Take advantage of good winter weather to prepare garden beds for spring planting. Work in some compost now so your soil will have time to settle and be ready for spring planting. A wise 92-year-old gardener taught me to prepare beds in fall or early winter because when spring planting season comes, rainy weather leaves soil too wet to work.
Force spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils for indoor flowers. Stagger plantings 2 weeks apart to produce beautiful indoor blooms all winter. Also, force bulbs in pots outdoors on a patio or porch to greet guests with a colorful arrangement of blooms. Interplant outdoor-planted bulbs with pansies or other winter flowers for even more attractive containers.
Set up a compost bin for recycling leaves and other landscape waste materials. The microbes that turn leaves into compost don't particularly care if the leaves are in a heap on the ground or in a store-bought bin, but bins do make composting a bit tidier and more aesthetically acceptable. Select a composting location near a water faucet and the garden for easy access.
Protect Tender Plants
Seedings and tender plants such as lettuce or semihardy annual flowers will benefit from a little protection when temperatures dip below freezing. A lightweight blanket or commercial frost blanket made of spunbound polyester fabric may be all they need to get them through a cold night. Remove the cover the next day to allow the sunlight to reach their leaves and the soil surface.