As late autumn turns to winter, with colder, shorter days, there are still plenty of tasks to do in the garden in November. Most of the garden plants are dormant now and will need to be protected from the lower temperatures and morning frost.
Raking up fallen leaves, securing supports for climbing plants, shrubs and young trees are tasks which will continue throughout November. Also insulating and raising pots and containers off the ground to protect them from frost should be done while the weather is still relatively mild.
Raking up fallen leaves seems to be a never-ending job at this time of year. Use the leaves to create a leaf mould compost. This will create a nutrient rich garden soil for seed sowing and potting when it has fully composted.
Early November is a good opportunity to mow the lawn before the winter weather sets in and apply a nitrogen, potassium and sulphate furtilizer.
Beds and Borders
Tender plants should be protected before the first frost arrives. Move any half-hardy plants into the greenhouse or under cover. Climbers should be supported to protect them from the harsh winter winds.
Placing a layer of mulch in the beds and borders will protect the roots of plants, retaining a good temperature moisture levels in the soil. Bark mulch has the added benefit of providing beneficial insects a safe habitat to over-winter in.
Early November is an ideal time to plant out spring bulbs such as tulips, crocus and daffodil. Spring bedding plants should also be planted at the beginning of the month to allow them time to establish before winter.
Continue to prune shrubs and perennials. Most climbing plants such as honeysuckle and clematis will benefit from a light pruning to help protect them from the winter elements. These can be further pruned in the spring ready for the new growth to develop.
Pansies and violas are ideal winter bedding plants. There is no reason for the winter garden to look dull and lifeless when there are so many varieties to create colourful winter displays. Primrose, bellis and the dainty cyclamen all perform well in a cooler climate with less sunlight.
In the Vegetable garden
November in the vegetable garden is all about storing the last of the crops and preparing the garden for next season. Remove any spent foliage and pulling up crops which have been harvested. Continue to harvest the last of the tomato, cucumber and bean crops. Cabbage, brussels sprouts and kale can be left in the ground over the winter until they are ready to be used. Root vegetables such as beetroot, carrots and parsnips should really be pulled up and stored ready for use. After the last of the crops have been harvested, it is good practice to apply a layer of nutrient rich compost and mulch to the soil to protect it from the winter rain and frost and feed the soil throughout the winter.
Protecting garden wildlife
As the weather becomes colder and the plants and trees begin to go dormant for the winter it is worth taking some time to create habitats to protect the wildlife in the garden in November. Growing roses, elder and hawthorn all provide a rich source of wild food for garden birds. Erecting a bird feeder in the garden will receive grateful daily visitors. For the smaller garden visitors, creating a habitat made from logs and surrounded with wildflowers will provide a welcome shelter with natural food resources nearby.