November in your garden
Every month in the gardener’s calendar, something either needs pruning, digging, tending, planting or ordering and November is no exception to that rule.
October brought very mixed weather in from the Atlantic, with the remains of hurricane Ophelia and Storm Brian bringing gale force winds and high tides to many parts of the UK and Ireland, felling trees, wrecking sheds and greenhouses and generally bringing chaos to all involved. We were lucky at the nursery and I think living in the middle of the UK shields us from a lot of bad weather.
On the upside there were plenty of sunny days which thankfully extended our summer/autumn season and it is only this week that a chill factor has seen more leaves falling and temperatures telling us to pop an extra pair of socks on and wear a hat whilst out and about in the garden.
But with the days shortening, cold, wet and windy weather will be standard during November and with deciduous trees and shrubs shedding their leaves, there will always be a few jobs to keep you busy and warm in the garden:-
To date there has only been a slight frost here at Brookside Nursery but even that is enough to see off tender leafed plants especially Dahlias.
- Dahlias - When frost blackens the leaves of dahlias, it is nature’s way of telling you it is time to lift and store the plants for winter. Cut the stems off, carefully dig up the tubers, shake off the excess soil, place them in a dry spot in the shed or greenhouse upside down and allow them to dry off for a few days. Then, in a deep tray that has a base of vermiculite or a mixture of horticultural sand & compost, place them right side up and cover with compost. They will now remain dormant for the winter and you only need to check them every month or so and any tubers that are rotting can be removed. Also, check the tubers are not drying out too much and shrivelling. Just lightly moisten the compost and this should ensure they stay in great condition until next year’s shoots emerge.
- Borders – Before cutting back stems of perennial flowers that are past their best, make a note of any that need dividing or moving. Some can be dug up now and moved, others are best left until spring, particularly if you live in a colder part of Britain or Europe. I remember reading that if the weather in winter is good enough for gardeners then it is good enough to move plants, but you can be the best judge of that.
- Roses - If you have taken delivery of bare root roses, it is best to get them in the ground as soon as possible (frosty, hard ground permitting). Plant the roses in a specialist rose compost as this contains calcium to promote good root growth. Year old roses will benefit from being pruned back to around 12” to promote a bushier specimen with stronger stems.
- Bulbs – November is an ideal month to plant tulip bulbs straight into the ground or to make a spring display in containers and pots. Daffodil bulbs should all be planted now but don’t worry if you still have some to plant, and no time to do it. If you have an empty patch of ground in the veg patch, dig it over, plant the bulbs in rows or groups, mark them with a label and in spring as the shoots develop you can dig them up and place them in the areas you want them to flower. We have a very limited number of bulbs left so if you need to purchase some click here
- Wildlife – Hedgehogs hibernate during the winter months and if you are lucky enough to have one or two in your garden, they are well worth looking after as one of their favourite snacks are slugs.
- Birds - Birds will come to your garden if you feed them regularly and will reward you with daily visits to brighten a dull November day. If you have grown specific plants that have seeds, hips or berries in the autumn and winter, leave them intact until the early spring, especially teasel, honeysuckle and mahonia, which the bees love. There are plenty of proprietary seed and nut brands available at your local nursery or garden centre as an alternative but they can be expensive so it’s much better if you can provide plants from your own garden.
- Vegetables – Winter vegetables like carrots and parsnips are such a bonus and taste so good pulled straight from the earth… Brussels sprouts grown from plug plants from the nursery are growing well and although the sprouts are still quite small I know they will fill up and be ready for a first picking very soon. Leeks should be almost ready for harvesting. I prefer to wait until they are larger in size but as soon as they look like they could provide you with a meal, get picking. We have a variety of seeds available ready to order for your next years crops. Take a look here for current seed varieties, watch this space for more seeds coming soon ...
- Dig over any empty parts of the vegetable patch and if you can get hold any well- rotted manure now is the time to spread it over the plot. This will nourish the soil in readiness for sowing and planting next season.
Keep warm and have fun in your garden!