First, harvest ripe and nearly ripe produce. Most vegetable plots are probably still producing peppers, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and tomatoes. I would also harvest my miniature pumpkins but the squirrels beat me to it.
Next, cover any vulnerable plants that will likely make it through the first frost with a bit of protection. Use sheets, tablecloths and towels. Lightweight plant covers made from spun polypropylene, such as those made by Fort Collins company Frost Protek, have become increasingly popular. They can be reached online at FrostProtek.com or they can be reached at (800) 983-0389.
Plants that you may wish to cover include patio container plants, hanging baskets and vegetables.
The third activity that a frost initiates is the decision on what to save. Hauling plants inside for the winter is my least favorite garden chore of the year so I postpone it as long as possible by covering my plants through the first frosts. Then I need to decide what to save and what not to save. Sunny windows can accommodate many potted tropical plants such as bananas, oleander, flowering maple and palms, as well as non-hardy cacti and succulents.
It isn't worth it to save annuals such as zinnias, marigolds or petunias, but it may be well worth the trouble to save or take cuttings of geraniums, coleus, some kinds of begonias and blood leaf.
You do not need a greenhouse to save plants over the winter. Almost any window will work and plants can also be put under lights. Standard florescent shop lights serve perfectly well, even with just plain, inexpensive florescent tubes.
Some bulbous plants may be saved in a cool, dark room. These include dahlias, gladiolus, pineapple lilies, tuberous begonias and cannas. Allow the plants to frost and then cut off the foliage. Store them in their pots or dig them and store them in plastic bags, Allow some air circulation and they will survive winter in a dormant state.
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