Perennials: Continue planting bulbs. Mulch loosely with leaves or straw. Protect from squirrel foraging with plastic fruit boxes, screening or soak them in a deer repellent. A scattering of mothballs might help, too. It is too soon to mulch beds, but collect fallen oak leaves and pine needles to use later, after the ground freezes.
Flowers: Clean out patio planters, tubs and window boxes. Clay containers should be stored in a dry place where they won’t be subject to freezing. Start paperwhites indoors for holiday blooming.
Vegetables and fruits: Cleanup in the vegetable garden should be complete. Continue harvesting carrots, parsnips, leeks and Brussels sprouts. Trim broken branches on fruit trees. Finish cutting raspberry canes if weather permits. Sawdust makes a good mulch for blueberries.
Trees and shrubs: When planting trees and shrubs, the root ball should sit in the hole on undisturbed ground with the crown of the plant at ground level or slightly above. If the hole yields a lot of stones replace with topsoil from elsewhere on your property, not compost or peat moss, so that the new plant will accommodate to your conditions. Unless a newly planted tree is very exposed to winds, do not stake. Do not prune or fertilize. Water regularly, depending on rainfall, for two years. Make sure to keep mulch away from the flare of the trunk.
Lawns: If the lawn showed signs of snow mold last spring, treat it now with a fungicide before snow covers the ground. The last mowing of the lawn should be very short to avoid the grass matting down.
Houseplants: Some houseplants are thirsty year-round and thrive on regular watering — African violets, begonias, Swedish ivies, spider plants and most ferns. However, other popular plants, such as cacti and succulents, go into a winter slump and prefer to be left alone. They should be watered sparingly. Sow seeds of parsley in a pot, moisten the soil and cover with plastic until they sprout. Keep in a sunny spot with houseplants.
General: Store and cover outdoor furniture, picnic tables and garden ornaments. Replace screens with storm windows.