1. Check out the Garden Master classes that are available throughout the state at http://mastergardener.uconn.edu/. Most classes are open to both Master Gardeners and the general public.
2. If driveways or sidewalks have been treated with a de-icer that contains sodium chloride do not pile this snow on plants or in areas where the melting snow will drain on to them. Consider using sand, sawdust, litter, or one of the commercial products that are labeled as safe for plants.
3. Fill bird feeders regularly, supplying a variety of seed and suet to accommodate a variety of tastes. Clean feeders and baths monthly with a solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water, rinsing thoroughly. A heater in the birdbath ensures a usable water supply.
4. Remove snow from evergreens as soon as possible after a storm. Prune storm-damaged limbs to prevent further tearing of the bark. Prop up ice-covered branches until the ice melts instead of attempting to remove it.
5. Avoid heavy traffic on the dormant winter lawn. The crowns of grass plants may be severely damaged.
6. Prepare your hand tools for the upcoming season. Sharpen the blades, oil the levers, and remove any rust. Painting the handles red or orange will make the tools easier to locate when they are laid down in the lawn or garden.
7. If a thaw occurs apply anti-desiccant sprays to broad-leaved evergreens. Anti-desiccants are best sprayed if the temperature reaches 40 degrees and no precipitation is forecasted for a few days. Spray both the tops and the undersides of the leaves.
8. Post-holiday Christmas trees and evergreen boughs can be used to mulch tender perennials and shrubs.
9. Protect the bark of young fruit trees from hungry mice by keeping mulch several inches from the trunk or by putting wire-screen mouse guards around the trunk of the trees.
10. Inspect ornamental trees and shrubs for scale insects. Make a note to treat any infestations with dormant oil after the temperature is above 40 degrees but before the plants leaf out.
Prepare houseplants to come inside before the first frost. Scout for insects and rinse foliage and containers.
Pot up tulips, hyacinths and other pre-chilled bulbs and store in a cool, dark place until ready to force. To begin pre-bloom dormancy for amaryllis, stop watering it and place in a cool, dark place.
Pot up some chives and oregano to bring indoors and use all winter long. In areas not hit by frost, there is still time to harvest and dry oregano leaves.
Plant bulbs: shallots and garlic for culinary use, flowering bulbs for beauty.
Beets, parsnips, and carrots can be covered with a thick layer of straw or leaves and left in the ground for harvest, as needed, during the winter. Pumpkins and winter squash should have hard rinds before being picked and stored.
Renovate the lawn by thatching or aerating if needed. Keep any areas seeded in September well watered.
Replace spent annuals with frost tolerant hardy mums, asters, pansies or kale.
Remove plant debris from the flower and vegetable gardens. Bag any diseased plant parts and put it in the trash or take it to a landfill but do not compost.
2. Pick summer squash and zucchini every day or two to keep the plants in production.
3. Pick up and destroy any fallen summer fruits/vegetables to reduce pests and disease for next year.
4. Continue to stake tomatoes and allow them to ripen on the plants for the best flavor. The exception is cherry tomatoes, which are prone to splitting. Pick any ripe or almost ripe tomatoes before a rain.
5. Renovate strawberry beds in late August.
6. Make note of where vegetables are planted in the garden so that crops can be rotated next year.
7. Do not add weeds with mature seed heads to the compost pile.
8. Water fruiting shrubs such as hollies and firethorn to ensure that berries mature and don’t drop.
9. Check hanging plants and containers daily. The wind and sun can dry them out.
10. Reseed the lawn in late August. Be sure to keep the seed moist until germination.