November comes bringing shorter, damper days and more wind. Still, you’ll get the occasional sunny day and it’s the perfect time to prepare your garden for next spring. From planting bulbs to harvesting late crops and tidying up, there are jobs to take care of at this time of the year. Read below for some ideas on how to make the most of November in the garden.
What gardening jobs can I do in November in the UK?
Here are some of the jobs you can complete outdoors this month to prepare for the winter months, protect plants from frost, and get a head start for next year:
- Wrap tender plants (such as bananas and tree ferns) with fleece, hessian, etc., as well as hardier plants if they’re in cold or exposed areas
- Raise containers on bricks or feet to prevent waterlogging
- Begin winter pruning of fruit trees
- Tie in new growth to shape your espaliers
- Apply grease bands around the trunks of fruit trees to protect them from moths laying their eggs
- Apply a layer of compost or manure to bare areas
- Protect salad plants and brassicas under cloches, fleece, or netting
- Clear old plants
- Prune roses with scissors or shears to prevent wind rock
- Lift dahlias to store them for winter
- Cut back herbaceous perennials
- Remove all annuals
- Hoe to remove weeds
- Remove stakes and supports
- Mulch, especially borderline hardy plants
- Lay straw paths
- Dig new flower beds when the soil is not too wet
- Plan garden changes for next year and order seed catalogues
- Rake and remove fallen leaves
- Add leaves to your compost heap or bin
- Alternatively, make leafmould by placing leaves in a pierced bag or a frame of chicken wire, keeping them moist
- Have a bonfire (if allowed) to dispose of the debris that are unsuitable for composting. Don’t forget to check for hibernating creatures!
Tip: How to lift dahlias. Cut off the old flowering stems 5cm, then carefully lift the plants out of the soil. Remove the soil from the tubers by hand. Keep the plants upside down in a cool place for a few weeks in order for them to dry off. Label cultivars and bury them in boxes filled with dry sand, soil, or compost, with only the old flower stalks showing. Store in your shed or glasshouse.
What to sow in November in the UK?
November is a great time to plant your lettuce in pots on a window sill, or in a greenhouse. If you want to plant your onion seeds now, you can also do so in pots or by using propagators or seedling trays.
In your greenhouse, you can also start your perennials such as Laurentia, Verbascum, and lupins from seed this month.
Tip: Don’t forget to keep your greenhouse properly ventilated not only in summer but in winter as well. This will help control humidity levels.
In milder parts of the UK, you can plant broad beans outdoors, or in sheltered sites. Make sure to pick a suitable variety, covering the plants with fleece or cloches in cold weather. You can also sow sweet peas in November. Keep them on a porch, cold frame, or unheated greenhouse so they’re not exposed. This will give them plenty of time for slow growth before spring. You can also plant garlic cloves in modules inside a cold frame.
Fruit trees such as apple, pear, cherry and plum can be planted now, along with shrubs such as blackcurrant, raspberry, and gooseberry. Make sure the ground is not frosted or too wet.
Plant your spring flowering bulbs such as tulips. Sow hardy annuals to add colour to your frames until early spring, such as wallflowers, forget-me-nots, primula, pansies, and violas. Some of these work great for decorative containers or fabric pots too. For beautiful blooms in time for Christmas, you can plant amaryllis and paper-white daffodil bulbs in mid-November.
November is also a good time to plant bare-root roses. The same goes for winter flowering shrubs like daphne, as well as hedging.
Although the main autumn harvest is over, there are plenty of winter crops to harvest in November. These include root vegetables, various green leaves, and more, such as:
At the start of the dormant season, the garden is still not fully asleep. There are still plants to prune, seeds to sow, and veggies to harvest. These November jobs can be of great help for next season and we hope they will keep your garden looking neat and colorful for as long as possible.