Perennials: Wait to mulch until the ground is frozen at least once. Spread some 5-10-5 fertilizer before mulching to give the plants an early spring feeding. Consider leaving a few flower heads for winter interest. Birds will appreciate any flower heads with seeds. Caryopteris and buddleia should be pruned in the early spring, not now.
Vegetables and fruits: Mushrooms can be easily grown at home. A dark corner of the basement can be turned over to mushroom cultivation. Kits are sold that provide a harvest in a few weeks. Or buy mushroom spawn and inoculate the logs yourself.
Trees and shrubs: The recent storms have taken down many beloved and valuable trees. Specimen trees need to be assessed every year for possible insect infestation and pruned to remove dead wood and top heavy growth. Trees planted in the wrong site were susceptible, especially those with shallow roots planted in clay soil. Pines, spruces and other conifers usually grow well in the forest’s humus soil, rather than solo and exposed to high winds.
Houseplants: Start new paperwhite bulbs every few weeks for continual bloom. Keep indoor ferns misted.
General: Remember to feed the birds. A bird feeder is a nice holiday gift. There are a variety of mixes for specific species, such as cardinals, chickadee, finches etc. A source of water is good for them, too.
Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester