Watering can illustration
Image: Kate Madden

Don your galoshes and rake up those wet, heavy leaves from your lawn and perennial beds; either add them to your compost or spread them around shrubs and trees to break down into mulch. Forgot to plant bulbs? Do it now! They will probably still bloom—just a bit later than usual. And as long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can plant cold-hardy trees and shrubs, which can grow healthy roots in the rain. 

When you’re done mucking around, there’s no substitute for in-depth reading, especially on topics hard to find in one place online. Recommendations:

 

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden (Timber Press, $20) Handy advice on growing edibles year-round

American Horticultural Society Pruning & Training (DK Publishing, $23) 
Helpful pruning descriptions and illustrations for a wide array of trees, shrubs, and vines

The New Western Garden Book: The Ultimate Gardening Guide (Oxmoor, $45)
This updated edition covers more locally grown and relevant plants than ever. 

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques (Timber Press, $35) Maintaining a perennial garden over the long term

Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture (Chelsea Green, $30)
Healthy soil and compost; the best use of existing light and moisture