As the weather gets colder and the days become shorter, it may be tempting to let your garden rest until spring. However, there are still many tasks, such as planting vibrant winter flowers, preparing your garden for next year’s seasons, and completing a general cleanup that you will appreciate later.
Also, consider the wildlife that may struggle during autumn and winter. Ensuring they have access to food and water will boost your bird population come spring.
As we enter the colder season, make sure that all the preparations for the freeze have been done – lawnmower prep, irrigation hoses drained, and protection where needed. Remove spent flower heads to keep the plants clean, but don’t cut stems back to the ground until new growth begins in March.
During the winter, the dead tips protect the plants. Plants can be harmed by warm weather followed by unexpected cold conditions. Although nothing can be done to avoid these natural events, they may explain why a plant developed dieback or dead regions as the winter progressed or as the spring or early summer approached.
Each month’s Jobs-to-Do article has a standard format, and this one is no different:
- Garden preparation jobs to do.
- Garden maintenance jobs.
- Vegetable gardening jobs to do.
- Fruit garden jobs to do.
- Indoor and container gardening projects.
- Ornamental garden jobs to do.
- A summary of what gardeners should focus on.
Garden Preparation Jobs for November
November typically brings heavier rain and frosts, making it crucial to make the most of any dry weather for growing produce. Despite this, there are still plenty of vegetables that can be planted and sowed during November. Additionally, carrying out forward-thinking tasks in preparation for spring and summer is essential.
For better soil fertility, physical structure, and water-holding capacity, spread manure, rotted sawdust, and leaves over your garden and plow them under. A soil sample before applying lime is recommended to ensure it will be more beneficial for the following year. Be sure to use Dolomitic limestone to boost calcium and magnesium if your soil is acidic.
Don’t throw away those leaves — shred, dry, and store them for later use, including making leaf mold, compost mix drying, or mulching.
Take inventory of your previous year’s garden. Note which vegetables were overproduced or not enough and keep track of any pest or disease problems. Make a note of your favorite varieties and start planning for next year’s garden now.
Check the viability of leftover seeds from last year by placing them in damp paper towels and observing the germination percentage. If the rate is low, order new seeds.
Before ordering seeds, draw a map of your garden area, deciding the direction and length of the rows, the spacing needed for each vegetable, and whether to plant on raised beds. This will help you order only the necessary seeds. This advice also applies to the flower garden. Try new cultivars, add more color, and change the color scheme to add variety to your garden.
Remember to note the tools you may still need and hint in the right direction to get given the right Christmas presents. Faith without hints is dead.
Garden Maintenance for November
Although your garden may be withering away rapidly during this time of year, it still demands a fair amount of attention and upkeep. Don’t let the chilly and damp weather hinder you from enjoying your outdoor space.
Performing cleaning and tidying tasks now will make your life easier when spring and summer return. It’s advisable to finish as many maintenance tasks as possible before moving on to other gardening tasks for this month.
This month, greenhouses are proving to be highly valuable. Opportunities to grow plants outside are limited during this time of the year.
To maintain a healthy lawn, it’s essential to remove leaves regularly. Keep mowing the grass until it stops growing. If you have bluegrass or fescue lawns, a final fertilizer treatment in the fall is recommended.
Before winter arrives, clean out your gutters and remove any debris. Install birdfeeders to provide birds with a source of unfrozen drinking water during the winter. Remember to turn off and drain any outdoor water lines or irrigation systems that may freeze over the winter. Water your evergreens regularly until the ground freezes to ensure the soil remains moist throughout the winter.
It’s currently the best time to plant trees and shrubs. To prepare the area, loosen the soil well beyond the drip line of each plant before digging the hole. Ensure the trees and shrubs are planted at the same depth as the nursery.
Before backfilling, remove any cables, ropes, and non-biodegradable items from the roots. Apply a 2-3-inch-thick mulch but keep it several inches away from the trunk. Keep the soil moist but not wet to the depths of the roots.
For perennials, remove the spent blooms and leaves after frost damage. Place screen stakes before the ground freeze to protect newly planted broad-leaf evergreens like azaleas, boxwood, and hollies from the winter wind. A burlap screen is recommended.
Autumn is an excellent time to evaluate and select nursery stock based on the beauty of the fall foliage.
As winter approaches, there are several things you can do to maintain your garden. Collect fallen leaves and decompose them into bin bags into leaf mold.
Chop any faded bedding plants, annuals, and old crops for your compost bin. For garden furniture that can’t be stored indoors, use waterproof covers. Provide additional food and shelter for your garden wildlife.
Remove pond pumps and fountains to prevent ice damage when temperatures fall below freezing. If your grass is still growing, continue to mow the lawn, but raise the height of the blades.
Before lighting any bonfires, check carefully for hedgehogs or other wildlife. Protect from frost damage by wrapping bubble polythene or hessian around pots. Insulate outdoor taps and pipes with insulating foam.
Move worm compost bins under cover for the winter. Regularly clean out and scrub bird feeders to maintain good hygiene. Repair fences and trellis now that they are becoming free of foliage.
Spring is approaching, so prepare by washing out all empty pots and trays and storing them neatly under your greenhouse staging. When watering, avoid splashing foliage to prevent the onset of fungal diseases in cool weather.
Vegetable Gardening Jobs to Do in November
During the Fall, vegetable gardening can help reduce the number of bug pests in the upcoming year’s garden due to the winter cold. To improve soil quality in your garden, till any unused and finished compost into it.
To prevent insects and diseases from overwintering in the garden, remove any plant waste and compost it. If your rhubarb plants are overcrowded or unproductive, split them now. Certain crops such as carrots, radishes, turnips, and Jerusalem artichokes can be stored in the ground by burying them under thick leaves or straw before the ground freezes.
You can peel back the protective mulch and harvest them as needed during the winter. For Thanksgiving, create a holiday wreath using garlic, onions, chili peppers, and herbs as a unique and gourmet present for a lucky friend.
Inspect your stored crops for any signs of rot or deterioration. To force your chicory roots to grow in the dark, lift and pot them. To protect your cabbages, kale, and other hardy brassicas from pigeons, put some netting over them.
Cover them with fleece for planting garlic, shallots, and onions in free-draining soil or raised beds. After cutting down your Jerusalem artichokes, dig up the tubers and store them in a bucket of dry compost.
Clear out old tomato and cucumber plants from the greenhouse to add to your compost heap. Keep track of your greenhouse temperatures using a max/min thermometer, and turn on the heating if necessary. Bring potted herbs like parsley and chives indoors to continue cropping through the winter.
Use cloches to protect your winter peas, beans, and salads, but leave the ends open to ensure good ventilation. To give extra stability to your top-heavy Brussels sprouts, support them with sturdy canes and pile earth around the stems.
Remember to harvest your turnips after they have been exposed to frost for at least four days. The cold weather triggers the plant’s response converting the starch to sugar, making this vegetable much tastier.
Fruit Garden Jobs to Do in November
It’s best to pull back the mulch a few inches from the tree’s base to protect fruit trees from rodents. When pecans start to fall from the tree, gather them up by shaking the nuts onto tarps placed on the ground.
Any fallen, rotted, or mummified fruits should be removed from the garden and buried. Applying a diluted whitewash made from equal parts of interior white latex paint and water on the southwest side of newly planted fruit plants is recommended to avoid winter sun scald damage.
Use commercial tree guards or protective collars of 18-inch high metal cloth to safeguard fruit trees from rabbits and rats. Cover strawberry plants with a loose and thick layer of straw mulch for winter before temperatures fall below the teens.
Make sure to prune autumn-fruiting raspberries to the ground after harvesting. If the soil is moist, it’s an excellent time to plant bare-root fruit trees, bushes, and canes.
To maintain healthy strawberry beds, it is recommended to trim congested runners and remove weeds. Additionally, it is suggested to take hardwood cuttings from currants, blueberries and gooseberries.
During the dormant season, pruning fruit bushes such as blackcurrants, redcurrants, white currants and gooseberries are also advised. To promote fruit growth and manage size, it is recommended to prune free-standing apple and pear trees during their dormant period.
November Indoor and Container Gardening Projects
For a winter crop, sow leafy greens like a rocket in small seed trays on a warm, sunny windowsill. To propagate perennials like phlox, oriental poppies, and Verbascum, take root cuttings.
Combat the drying effects of central heating on your houseplants by giving them extra humidity. Thoroughly clean your greenhouse staging, glazing, and framework with disinfectant. Keep tender plants safe from frost by ensuring they are undercover.
Water your indoor pots of spring bulbs frequently to prevent drying out. And always be on the lookout for overwintering pests by checking your greenhouse plants regularly.
November is typically the time of the year when your garden begins to retreat, and plants do it by dormancy. However, we still have a full list of tasks for you to complete, including planting your spring bulbs, as this month is your last chance to do so!
Several succulent plants have a reversed dormancy state — dormant in summer and actively growing in winter. Dormant houseplant fertilization should be reduced or stopped until spring.
Ornamental Garden Jobs to Do in November
Creating a compost heap in a greenhouse has real heating potential – without the bill. With temperatures in an aerated compost batch reaching 140 to 158°F (60 – 70°C), the released heat can help boost indoor temperatures – space permitting.
Cover tulip bulbs in pots and borders with soil or compost at least twice their depth. Once the first frost arrives, lift dahlia tubers, clean them, and store them in dry compost in a cool, frost-proof place.
To prevent any disease from carrying over, gather and dispose of all fallen leaves from roses affected by blackspot. Before the weather turns cold, plant all bare-root hedging, roses, trees, and shrubs. Use stem protection guards around young trees and shrubs if rabbits are problematic.
Remove faded sweet peas, morning glory, thunbergia, and other annual climbers from supports. Cut down tatty and faded perennials, then mulch the surrounding soil with garden compost.
Protect borderline hardy plants such as agapanthus using thick straw mulch or garden compost. Replenish gravel mulch around alpines to remove the foliage from damp soil, which can cause rotting.
Move containers of alpine plants under cover to shelter from winter rain. Now is the time to sow seeds from berry-laden trees and shrubs. To start planning what to grow next year, order seed catalogs. Plant a Japanese maple in a pot and place it in a sheltered spot in a semi-shade.
Planting tulips is becoming more difficult due to time constraints. However, after blooming, mums can be trimmed to a few inches above the ground and covered with a 2 to 3-inch layer of loose mulch like pine needles, straw, or leaves once the ground freezes.
It’s also essential to mulch flowers and bulb beds after the ground freezes to protect them from frost heave. To winterize roses, cover each plant with a 6 to 10-inch layer of mulch after an intense frost. Topsoil is the best soil, and pruning should be done carefully to reduce long canes. For climbers, there is a better time to prune.
Additionally, it’s essential to take precautions to prevent garden ponds from freezing solid during the winter. Covering pools with insulating material or floating a stock tank water heater in the pond can help avoid ice damage.
Bird netting can cover garden pools to keep leaves out of the water. Pond fish might die in the winter due to oxygen loss caused by decomposing organic waste.
November Lawn Care Jobs
As November arrives, it’s time to wrap up your lawn-care tasks for the year. To reduce worm casts and fallen leaves on your lawn, sweep them back into the grass.
If the weather allows, give your lawn one last cut with the lawnmower set to high. Keep mowing until the grass stops growing, but cut it shorter than usual to avoid snow mold and vole damage.
If needed, continue watering your lawn to keep it hydrated for the winter, but avoid over-saturating the soil.
What Gardeners Should Focus on in November
The ground may be empty in November and ready for tilling and manure application. It’s best to leave the soil in large clumps and let worms break them apart as they consume the manure. Freezing and thawing water in the soil will also help break it up, making it easier to work with in the spring.
Lime application may also be necessary, but it should not be done simultaneously with manure application. Protect winter brassicas from hungry birds by covering them with netting and double-check the stakes of Brussels sprouts to prevent wind damage.
If you’re making a compost trench, keep filling it, adding a little soil over each layer of kitchen waste.
If you have an abundance of falling leaves, consider making leaf mold. To start, build a simple leaf mold cage by driving four stakes into the ground and stapling chicken netting around them. Then, pile in the leaves and let them sit for a year.
You may notice that the pile reduces by at least two-thirds, so keep filling the bin as more leaves drop. You can speed up the process by shredding the leaves and adding a mix of urine and horse manure (added nitrogen) to activate the fungi.