What to do in your Garden in November

I kicked off November with a can of dicer and a scraper in a pair of hands that felt more like I’d shoved them in the freezer and fondled a bag of frozen garden peas for a while. It’s getting colder, and my frozen little Peugeot 107 doesn’t like it. If that’s how my not-so-much beast of a car is feeling, what about the many gardens dotted around the UK? Thankfully I’ve already helped the plants by writing this ‘protecting plants from frost or snow’ guide, but if you’re at a loss about what you’re supposed to do in the garden in the short cold days of November then seal your eyeballs on this guide to what to do in your garden in November and know it’ll be the last time you pull the lawn mower our or work with the hedge trimmer. But it’ll bring new challenges, you’ll have the leaf blower out everyday.

Things You Should Do In Your Garden In November

Much of what you’ll be doing concerns tidying up and preparing your garden to endure the winter.

General Jobs

Rake up leaves in compost bin
  • Remove things left over from summer planting: Do a tidy up and pull up things like canes and supports that you only used for summer crops. Leaving them out through winter could just render them useless next summer so good preparation is worth it thanks to a battering by the weather.
  • Rake up leaves: You’ll have probably started this anyway, but being autumn you’ll find that leaves are a common occurrence. Rake up all those leaves that have fallen onto your lawn and other parts of the garden, before putting them into a compost bin (in a separate compartment to the general compost) so that you can’t start getting leaf mould for future projects.
  • Set-up some winter protection: To protect delicate plants from the cold weather you’ll need to create some kind of protection or bring them inside for the winter.
  • Prepare your soil: This is your last chance to get the soil prepared, as it will be too frozen or wet during winter to do anything with. Clear weeds and old dead plants, mulching the soil as you go. Mulching will prevent leaching and erosion of the soil throughout the winter. Adding compost to the soil will also help improve it in time for spring planting.
  • If you’re building a bonfire (particularly on 5 November) make sure you check for any hibernating hedgehogs before you light the fire. Personally I prefer a shredder now because that mulch is so useful for the fight against drought and looking after your plants in the summer.
  • Take a spike to the lawns: Put grit into the holes created so that surface drainage is improved.
  • Edge your lawn to make it look neat and tidy.
  • Wash and dry any unused pots, seed trays and containers before putting into storage. This will ensure pests and diseases don’t linger until you want to use them again next year.
  • Clean gardening tools too, applying oil so that they won’t rust while unused.
  • If you’ve got a greenhouse then give it a good clean out. Wash the windows inside and out to allow the maximum amount of light in during the darker winter months. Give it all a good disinfectant, giving everything a good scrub, so that no nasty diseases are left lingering. If any glass is damaged then make sure to replace it before winter arrives. If it’s not already then you should also insulate it to reduce heat loss.

Flowers and Plants

  • Divide perennials
  • Keep watering until the ground freezes over.
  • Take a look at our winter flowers guide.
  • You can plant daffodil and tulip bulbs now for them to flower in spring. I like a bulb planter.
  • Bring delicate perennials inside to wait out the winter
  • You can also plant bare-root roses now.
  • Start planning what you’re going to plant next year. Since you’re doing less in the garden you can take some time to start formulating a plan about what you want next year’s garden to look like, perhaps even some landscaping.
  • Move deciduous shrubs and trees, such as conifers and evergreens that are now too big for their positions. Give them a prune with some nice shears or shrub trimmers, taking cuttings to place in sheltered spots with a sharp grafting knife.
  • Make sure the soil is firm around newly planted trees and shrubs, as the wind can pull them out.
Daffodils

Fruit and Vegetables

  • Dig up any summer crops and pop them in the compost.
  • You can now harvest carrots, cauliflower, cabbages, parsnips and endive.
  • Prepare a perennial vegetable bed where rhubarb and asparagus can be planted. You can also plant onion sets, garlic, mushrooms and broad beans.
  • Congested clumps of rhubarb need to lifted and divided.
  • Spread any manure you have over vegetable beds so that it can rot down over winter.
  • Currant bushes can now be planted while they are dormant, as can raspberry canes.
  • Prune pear, apple and fig trees. Plum trees should be left alone as they can develop silver leaf fungus if pruned now.
  • Check and fruits in storage and remove any that are showing signs of rotting before it has chance to spread.
  • Tidy up strawberry beds by removing unwanted runners, weeds and old leaves.

Wildlife

  • Fill up bird feeders and provide fresh water. Here’s everything you need to know about bird feeders. Remember to keep a check on food supplies, and check the water daily to ensure it hasn’t frozen over.
  • Gather a small stack of logs to act as a shelter for insects and amphibians throughout winter

Have anything to add? Please comment below!

Top Tips For Gardeners In November

Autumn spreads colour across our countryside when it arrives, turning trees into magnificent scenes of reds, oranges and ambers that light up the crisp days. While winter may be about to swoop down and keep us from our beloved gardens with frosts and snow, fear not because in November there’s still plenty of gardening time left to enjoy – and time to tick-off a number of key tasks from your list too.

Leaf mould

Gather the fallen leaves and bag them for mulch. Now is the perfect time of year for making mulch which you can add to your soil next year – and the fallen leaves are everywhere right now. Mulch is the perfect material to prevent droughts being a problem for your garden, essentially November is about preparing for next summer and spring!

Be especially quick at collecting the leaves on your lawn as they damage the grass beneath them if left too long, the decaying leaves sets in and does the same to the grass. There’s two ways to deal with these leaves properly; one is to rake them up; the other is to vacuum them.

When you have a bagged the leaves, make a couple of holes in the bag as the bacteria that makes leaf mould need air to work their magic.

It’s advisable to keep leaf mould separate to your compost bin, and leave the bag somewhere for about a year before adding it to your soil.

Spring bulbs

It’s not too late to plant your spring bulbs at this time of year, it’s with looking into a bulb planter, it’s neat and tidy which saves plenty of time in the end, a great little gardener’s digging tool. You then await the wonderful bloom of colour in a few months. While some spring flowering bulbs should ideally be planted in September/October time, early November should be fine for daffodils and hyacinths, and is the right time for tulips.

There is still just about time to plant summer flowering bulbs like Alliums, Crocosmia and Lilies in the early part of this month too.

You can plant these bulbs in borders or troughs, depending on your preference. Some even prefer plant pots.

Bird feeders

Don’t forget to replenish your bird feeders with nuts and seeds to sustain the birds during the oncoming winter. Make sure your bird feeder is squirrel proof though, as you don’t want to encourage squirrels into your garden because they will munch on your bulbs too. The bird feeder will really help the wildlife in your garden if the next summer is a drought.

Lawn care

As a result of the mild weather we’ve been having recently, your lawn may need a final mow. Once done, it’s a good idea to put all your gardening tools and equipment into the garage or shed, to keep them protected from the elements during winter. I normally store my lawn mower and strimmers, along with chainsaw and hedge trimmer at the back of the shed as they won’t be coming out. I keep my garden hand tools and leaf blower at the front because I am likely to play in the conservatory or greenhouse.

Move plants

The sensitive plants should be moved into the shelter of your greenhouse or garage, so that the frosts and snow can’t damage them. This is why it’s always worth planting in pots if you think a plant isn’t going to be hardy enough to withstand a rough winter(even though they’ve been mild of late).

Insulate your greenhouse

Line the inside of your greenhouse with bubblewrap to help reduce heat loss through the winter months. The layer of bubblewrap will reduce the draughts and prevent the inside getting too cold as the outside temperature plummets. Choose bubblewrap with bigger bubbles as this is more effective at providing protection from the elements.

Harvest vegetables

Pick all the parsnips, carrots, cauliflowers and cabbages from your garden – and enjoy a delicious vegetable feast over the next few weeks.

Plant your garlic gloves, broad beans, peas and onions too for spring.

Christmas joy

With Nature braced for the onslaught of winter, now is the ideal time to gather items for use as Christmas decorations. Collect pinecones, seed heads and berries, ready for sprucing up your house for the festive season. We say bye bye summer, hello winter!