Gosh, November already but close your eyes and with temperatures over the weekend hovering round 20ºC you'd think it was summer not late autumn. Open your eyes though and you'll see it is just Nature playing games with us and autumn will in fact soon be stepping aside to let winter in.
Warm sunshine does not hide the fact that more and more of the trees are now standing bare of their leaves.
Fennel seed heads - food for the birds and no doubt plenty of free seedlings next spring.
Dogwood putting on a glorious show this autumn and more berries for our overwintering birds. Autumn has been very kind to them this year.
Since the weekend we have had more warm weather but when I went to put the birds to bed just now it was raining gently. As the weather worsens it is all too easy to ignore the garden but there is still plenty you can be getting on with in November. Here are my top tips for things to do now if you are a fruit or vegetable grower:
Top 20 Vegetable/Fruit Gardening Tips for November
- Sow broad beans if your garden is not too exposed and your soil does not become waterlogged over winter
- Stake tall overwintering brassicas such as purple sprouting broccoli and brussel sprouts
- Manure areas as you clear them of summer crops then cover to prevent weeds growing. You can use old carpets, black plastic, thick cardboard or specialist landscape fabric. The latter is relatively expensive but can be used year after year. Alternatively dig the manure into cleared areas.
- Harvest autumn and winter crops - leeks, cabbage, parsnips, late carrots/beetroot, parsley, brussel sprouts, kale etc.
- Plant new fruit bushes and trees
- Prune fruit bushes according to type and take hardwood cuttings
- Continue watering on warm days but only sparingly. If you can bring a water barrel into the tunnel then the water will be warmer and less of a shock to plants.
- Clear all finished summer crops
- Manure/compost the soil
- Sow broad beans and mangetout.
- If you are quick you can plant overwintering onion sets. In the spring if these are taking up valuable space for other crops simply harvest them as smaller spring onions.
- Watch out for mice
- Transplant winter lettuce, spring cabbage, spinach and kale if you have seedlings
- Harvest what-ever you can. You may still have late tomatoes, peppers, chillies as well as beetroot, oriental greens, lettuce and chard and herbs.
- Check stored produce for any signs of rot
- Give the whole patch an end of year tidy up but remember to leave some rough patches and wood piles etc for wildlife
- Go through your pots and trays etc - throw out damaged ones, clean others in warm soapy water and store away neatly.
- Spend a bit of time assessing what grew well and what didn't, trying to work out how to do better next year.
- Start perusing seed catalogues, planning for next year.
- Plant tulips - OK I know that these are not edible but November is the ideal month to plant the bulbs and a few tulip flowers in the veg garden will look fabulous next year.
So, plenty to be getting on with, especially, if like me, you were away last week. I was over in England and managed to fit in one rather fabulous garden. Have you any idea which one?
Joining in with Annie's How Does Your Garden Grow. Do head on over to see if other gardeners have been enjoying unseasonally warm weather this week.