There’s more to November than cold, wet weather and early sunsets. There are still crisp, clear days – the perfect opportunity to see your garden in a very different light. There’s plenty to keep you busy in the greenhouse or polytunnel, and you can always turn your attention to a spot of indoor gardening and take care of your houseplants as well.
This is also the time to start planning next year’s gardening exploits, so at the end of the day, put your feet up and start ordering your seed catalogues, planning your veg plot, and thinking about new and exciting ways you can bring even more colour into your garden. Here are a few tips to keep you busy in the garden during November.
Your essential November checklist
- Cheer yourself up with the promise of colour in the spring by planting tulips in pots and borders, adding grit to heavy soils to improve drainage.
- Lift dahlia tubers after the first frost, clean them off and allow them to dry before storing them in a cool, dark place.
- Rake up fallen leaves and store them in a pile to make leaf mould.
- Cut back faded perennials (leaving a few stems standing for overwintering insects) and mulch beds with leaf mould or well-rotted farmyard manure.
- Don’t cut back ivy until spring, as it’s a good food source and habitat for beneficial insects
- Protect winter crops under cloches, firmly secured to stop them blowing away in strong winds.
- Spend time in the greenhouse or potting shed cleaning your stock of pots for next season
- Keep a close eye on the temperature and fire up the greenhouse heater if necessary.
- The lawn may still need cutting during mild spells, but raise the blade height on your mower.
- Clean bird baths and feeders and keep them topped up.
- Clear out ponds and remove pumps to prevent frost damage.
Flower beds and borders
- Protect frost-hardy plants like agapanthus with a thick mulch.
- In cold or exposed areas, move containers and pots into more sheltered positions to protect plants from wind and rain damage.
- Now’s a good time to plant bare-root roses, shrubs and hedges, as long as the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen.
- Protect young shrubs and trees from hungry rabbits and deer with stem protectors. Young trees can benefit from a Tree Support Kit until they’re well established.
- Collect any fallen rose leaves affected by black spot and burn them or put them in your council green waste collection bin.
In the veg plot
- Wait until after the first frosts to harvest parsnips, as they’ll taste sweeter.
- There’s still time to plant onion and garlic sets before winter sets in.
- Increase your stock of plants by taking hardwood cuttings from fruit bushes like gooseberries and blackcurrants.
- Mulch veg beds with leaf mould or well-rotted farmyard manure.
- Stake brassicas against winter winds and net them if necessary to protect them from birds.
- Check stored potatoes, onions and garlic bulbs, and remove any that are rotting.