November in the Garden

November can be that messy time in the garden, with rain, wind and in some parts of the country frost. I feel November is a bedding down time for the garden and also a time for a good general tidy up. As a professional gardener and designer I am out in all weathers but here are some jobs for you to consider on those brighter November days.

November in the Vegetable Garden

The earlier any winter digging is done the better, as this will allow the rain, frost and snow to break down the thick clods of soil especially if you incorporate garden compost. If you are considering a new vegetable plot I would recommend a ‘no dig’ raised bed system. With this you layer up a raised bed using compost, leaf mould, cardboard and topsoil which creates a great soil structure for growing vegetables. The bed is then topped up in Winter with a thick layer of organic compost which makes it ready to sow in Spring.

It is also time to harvest leafy greens like Kale, Brussel sprouts and Chard. Parsnips can be lifted and stored in the same way as carrots. Garlic can be planted this month but if the weather is too wet consider starting it off in modular trays in a cold Frame.

November Lawns

If you haven’t done so already it is best to do your final cut this month on a dry day. Ideally you want to keep off a wet lawn as heady foot traffic can compress soft turf.

New lawns can be laid at this time of year but do avoid rolling out turf when there is a frost. The one advantage of laying your turf at this time of year is that it won’t dry out.

November Bulbs

Hopefully you will have got most of your bulbs dug in by now for a Spring display. Tulips are best planted this month as there is a better chance of the bulbs not getting affected by tulip fire. Tulips are best planted in a sunny position if your soil is heavy clay you must add grit to the planting hole for drainage.

November Perennials

A lot of perennials in the garden might be looking a bit sad, brown and droopy in the garden, like salvias, repeats and geraniums. Giving these a good haircut will tidy up the plant and help with root vigour for the winter, they will also benefit with a thick layer of compost to protect them over winter.

If leaves have accumulated on top of the plants it is a good idea to clear these as the plants will suffer from a lack of light and also attract slugs and snails. The leaves can be put on the compost heap or put on a pile to make leaf mould.

November Bare Root Planting

At this time of year bare rooted stock of most deciduous trees and shrubs will come available. I plant most of my roses at this time of year as they are a lot cheaper as a bare rooted form.

Bare root season is from November through to March which is the dormant season.

Make sure when you buy bare rooted plants that the roots aren’t dry or shrivelled and keep them well wrapped when transporting them. Before planting soak the root in a bucket of water for half an hour which enlivens the root. Dig a hole adding lots of compost and bone meal and make sure the plant is firmed in using your boot. Tree stakes will be needed for planting trees to protect them against strong winds.

November Designing the Garden

Often it’s too wet to get outside this month so it is a great time to plan your garden on those winter nights.

As a Garden Designer working in Brighton and Sussex I do a lot of designs over the winter months and have the pleasure in building them in Spring, Summer and Autumn. If you have recently moved into your house and have a medium to large scale garden I would recommend not doing anything to the garden for the first year. It is really worth your while getting to know your garden and see what comes up seasonally, you might be surprised how your thoughts change about the garden over the year. It is a good idea to take photographs of the garden throughout the year which will help you, and the Garden Designer you have chosen, to plan the Healing Garden of your dreams.

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