A Busy November

It is time for the seasonal slowdown, as your garden and most of the plants and animals in it start to prepare for the colder months ahead. But, of course this doesn’t mean to say that you can start snoozing!

There are lots of jobs which, if done now, could end up saving you time and money later on in the season or when the garden comes back to full life next spring, so I thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at the top November gardening tasks that you should try to get to grips with.

Get prepared for a relatively weed-free few months but hoe off weeds that are around now, as some might still set seed during mild, damp periods. Provided they don’t have any seed pods on them their top-growth can safely be composted. Bin, burn or rot down fleshy weed roots to prevent them growing in the compost heap!

Flower beds and borders are likely to have a lot of deteriorating plants in them now. Cut back or pick off obviously diseased leaves and stems, and remove some of the foliage that is dying back purely due to the time of year. The flower beds will look a lot neater and it’ll give you an insight as to what might need replacing. Leave some deteriorating but healthy foliage in place to provide some protection for the crowns of the more fragile plants.

Rabbits can be a menace at the best of times, but over the next few months their natural or wild food supplies are likely to dry up. This means they will be on the lookout for some tasty meals from your garden. Make sure that rabbit netting is not damaged and that trees, especially those that have been planted recently, are fitted with tree guards.

Rake, rake and rake some more! That’s what you’ll need to be doing if there is a sizeable tree near your lawn. Use a spring-tined rake and do it on a regular basis – if you don’t collect up the fallen leaves they can do quite a lot of damage to the grass beneath.

Trees, shrubs and climbers that have been planted over the last few weeks may need a little protection over their first winter. Foliage that will be perfectly tough and hardy once the plant is established may well succumb to frost or cold wind damage this year. If heavy frosts are forecast or winds are getting icy, a layer or two of horticultural fleece draped over the plant and pegged in place, should do the trick, and can be removed on warmer days. I’ve also got some great fleece ‘jackets’, complete with a drawstring and in various sizes, available from my website – perfect for easy protection of all sorts of sizes of plants and shrubs, see www.pippagreenwood.com/products/protect-your-crops.

If you’re planning on planting a hedge, bear in mind that many hedging plants are far cheaper if bought ‘bare root field grown’, meaning they are lifted from their nursery field without being potted on. These plants generally establish and grow really well and are likely to be available now, but to make sure you get the pick of the bunch get your order in now. Bare root plants are not feasible once the leaves start to appear next year.

Send off for a good collection of seed catalogues and check out the various websites so that you can start to look at what you want to grow next year. Many suppliers offer seeds and young plants of many vegetables, so order now and you can relax, knowing that you have got your first choice selection. Check out  my website for a Grow
Your Own package perfect for the less experienced vegetable grower – the plants you choose come with weekly advice emails telling you exactly what you need to be doing.

Established clumps of bamboo should be thinned out now. The extra space that the remaining canes will have will allow them to grow away better, and also gives them more freedom to move about in that way which makes bamboos so very appealing.

Less tender bulbs such as nerines and many of the agapanthus are more likely to come through the winter with style if you give them a little protection now. Mound dry chipped bark or other mulch over the area in which they are planted.

And last but not least, water butts may not have had a lot of water going in to them over the last few drier months, but this is likely to change. Before they fill up with rain, grab a sturdy brush and clean each one out thoroughly, removing deposits of algae, soggy bits of plant and general gunge! Rinse out and then re-install ready to collect some rain.

Visit Pippa’s website at www.pippagreenwood.com for a gorgeous selection of useful gardening items, perfect for gifts too, including growing frames, SpeedHoes, SpeedWeeders, fleece jackets, cloches, fruit cages, raised bed kits, Nemaslug and other nematode controls, copper tape, pull-out EasyTunnels, signed books and lots more besides.

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