Cover Bare Soil
To reduce soil erosion in the vegetable or annual garden this winter, cover the bare garden soil with mulch. Fine-textured organic material, such as chopped leaves, will partially rot down during the winter and can be turned into the soil next spring.
This is the time to clean, inspect, and service or repair your tools. Check the owner's manual for instructions on recommended seasonal maintenance and correct storage of power tools. Hand tools should be cleaned and can be sharpened now, too. Next spring you will be a jump ahead.
Keep an eye out for early seed and plant catalogs arriving by mail. Catalogs are informative even if you don't order from them, and they make great winter reading. If you do place an order for next season's garden, take time to browse through the offerings and think through your plans.
Check for Pests
Check on any patio plants you brought inside as houseplants for the winter. They may have harbored pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, or spider mites. If you see discolored foliage or other unusual symptoms, try to diagnose accurately and treat promptly before the problem builds up and becomes unmanageable.
Water the Birds
If you feed the birds this winter, in addition to birdseed and other treats consider offering them a shallow pan of clean, fresh water. They will become accustomed to water set out at a regular time each day and will appreciate it when other sources freeze up.