November jobs and tips for your garden
Leaves are falling rapidly, and wind and rain are on the increase. Tender plants will need protecting from frost, gales and freezing rains. Move plants into the greenhouse, or into a sheltered spot, but if you can't, it is worth wrapping plants or pots. Remember winter can be a tough time for birds in terms of water and food, so keep supplies well topped up.
• Insulate outdoor containers from frost – bubble wrap works well.
• Clear up fallen leaves - especially from lawns, ponds and beds.
• Cover brassicas with netting if pigeons are a problem.
• Put out bird food to encourage winter birds into the garden.
• Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging.
• Use a seasonal bonfire - where this is allowed - to dispose of excess debris unfit for composting.
• If you didn’t manage to give the outside of the greenhouse a wash down last year, it would prove very
worthwhile to try and do it on a warm day during this month removing any algae and grime that has built up
preventing light getting to the plants inside. The use of a hosepipe, using a slow spray, and brush washer on
each glazed panel would prove ideal for this job.
• It’s also a good idea to insulate greenhouses by using bubble air insulation film.
• Retaining warmth in the greenhouse is important so it is best to close vents by mid-afternoon.
• As temperatures drop houseplants should be watered less frequently.
• It’s also advisable that plants being over-wintered under-glass are checked regularly to make sure they are
keeping healthy and free from disease, which can be done by removing any dead flowers along with leaves
that may become discoloured.
• Clean and disinfect pots and trays ready for next season.
• Plan your garden for next year, order plants and seeds early to avoid disappointment.
• As temperatures start to fall birds will appreciate regular feeding so why not take a look at our garden bird
food and care section and see the range of bird food we’re offering, along with the Fat Bird feeder kit for
making your own ‘cupcakes’ to hang out for them.
• Reuse spent compost from annual container displays as a mulch on the garden.
• Create compost bins for collecting fallen leaves and dead plant material.
• Collect leaves up for making leaf mould as a soil conditioner. Oak, Alder and Hornbeam will rot down in a
year but beech, sycamore, horse chestnut and sweet chestnut will take a couple of years to compost.
• Sweep up debris and fallen leaves that harbour overwintering fungal spores and hiding places for slugs and
• Start preparing a bonfire with twigs and prunings - cover them with plastic so they remain dry for better
burning later. (Make sure you check for hedgehogs before lighting your bonfire)
• Net ponds to prevent leaves falling into them. If you need to clear pond weed lay it next to the pond for a
day to allow wildlife to escape back to the water.
• Clean out water butts and let the autumn rains refill them. Install a new waterbutt ready for next year.
• If the soil is dry, give your garden one last good watering before the ground freezes.
• Use the last of the dry weather to paint sheds and fences with preservative before the winter arrives.
• Check stored onions and garlic and remove any rotting bulbs immediately. The neck of the bulb is usually
the first area to rot. Try using onion bags to improve air flow.
• Check stored potatoes and remove any that are rotting. Use Hessian sacks to store your potatoes as this
will allow the crop to breathe.
• Make time to give evergreen hedges a final trim before the bad weather sets in, so they look neat and tidy
for the winter.
• Once plants are dormant, it is a good time to lift and relocate any plant that you want to move.
• Raise pots off the ground for the winter by using bricks or 'pot feet', to prevent waterlogging.
• Invest in bird baths and bird feeders this autumn. Birds are gardeners friends and will keep pest numbers
• Sowings can be made outdoors of broad bean Aquadulce Claudia, the variety 'the Sutton' can also be sown
now but must be given the protection of cloches.
• Continue planting suitable varieties of garlic such as Solent Wight until the middle of the month.
• Crowns of globe artichoke should be protected from frost by wrapping straw around the base of the plants.
• For an early variety of mange tout pea the variety Oregon Sugar Pod can be sown under cloches this
month. However, if in colder areas it might be worth waiting until spring to make sowings.
• Potted up herbs should be brought indoors for the winter.
• Overcrowded clumps of chive can be lifted and divided. As this is such a useful herb for garnishes and
flavouring all year round why not grow small clumps in pots on the kitchen windowsill
• For a continuous supply of lettuce crops during winter plant varieties, such as Vaila-Winter Gem, in pots,
borders or growbags and grow on in a warm greenhouse.
• Protect outside crops with either Envirofleece, which is very popular with vegetable enthusiasts, or
Enviromesh which acts as a barrier to garden pests as well as providing some frost protection.
• POTATO BLIGHT – Warm, damp, humid weather favours the spread of Potato Blight. The first symptoms
seen are brown or blackish irregular patches on the leaves which quickly spread resulting in all the foliage
collapsing. If damp, humid conditions continue the disease quickly spreads to neighbouring plants. If the
crop is well advanced the loss of the potato crop can often be prevented by removing all the dead foliage as
soon as possible to prevent the spores washing down to the tubers. To reduce the risk of attack in warm,
damp, humid weather conditions spray the plants with Bayer Fruit and Vegetable Disease Control at 14 day
• Lift parsnips after the first frosts when their flavour will have sweetened.
• Divide mature clumps of rhubarb once they are dormant.
• Now is a great time to prepare a perennial vegetable bed which can be planted up with rhubarb crowns and
• Prepare a bed for planting autumn garlic. Improve heavy soils with organic matter before planting.
• Now is an ideal time to invest in mushroom kits. It's surprisingly easy to grow your own mushrooms.
• Place a scaffold plank on the ground along the main access route into the plot to allow access without
compacting the soil as you walk across it.
• If you have access to fresh manure, now is the time to spread it across the surface of your vegetable beds
to rot down over winter.
• Build a raised bed to take the bending out of vegetable growing.
• Stake top-heavy brassicas and draw up some soil around the base of the stem to prevent wind rocking the
plant and causing damage to the roots.
• Stop winter moth damage to fruit trees using grease bands around the trunks.
• Now is the ideal time to plant currant bushes whilst they are dormant.
• Plant raspberry canes now for a delicious home grown crop.
•Tidy up your strawberry plants - cut off any dead leaves and remove runners.
• Prune pear and apple trees anytime between now and February. But don't be tempted to prune your plum
trees now as they will be susceptible to the silver leaf fungus - wait until midsummer.
• Apply glue bands or grease bands to the trunks of fruit trees to prevent wingless female winter moths
climbing the trunks and laying their eggs in the branches.
• Remove the top netting from fruit cages as heavy snow in winter can make it sag.
• Check fruits in storage and promptly remove any showing signs of disease or rotting.
• Soft fruit can be planted in prepared ground that has well-rotted manure or garden compost incorporated.
• Canes that provided fruit of blackberries this year can be pruned to soil level and new ones tied into their
• Canes that are very long should be trained back down towards the soil or, to ensure the stem of the longest
length is left, wind this in circles.
• Tips of canes may be buried in the soil to root which will then form new plants.
• Ripe apples should be picked and, depending on the variety, either be eaten or stored in a cool, dry place
• Glue bands can be wrapped around fruit trees.
•Plant tulip bulbs for a spring display next year.
• Planting spring bulbs should be completed as early in the month as possible, ensuring they are planted at
the correct depth.
• Should their final planting space not be quite prepared, then why not plant the bulbs in large pots and then
they can be planted out at a later date.
• Bulbs such as crocus, tulip and narcissi should all be planted into bowls by now for placing in a cool
situation, given cover protection from any heavy rain so that development can begin.
• Prune roses to prevent wind-rock.
• Plant out winter bedding.
• There's still time to plant daffodil bulbs and other spring flowering bulbs for a magnificent start to next year’s
• Plant tulip bulbs now to prevent Tulip Fire infection.
• Plant up a terracotta pot of hyacinth bulbs for a simple but stunning display next spring.
• Now is the ideal time to plant a magnolia tree for a beautiful spring display.
• Gather up fallen leaves from around the base of rose bushes which suffered from blackspot or rust this
summer, to reduce the chance of infection next year.
• Continue to lift dahlia tubers, begonias and gladiolus corms to store dry over the winter months. Remove
the dead foliage before storing.
• Cut back the yellowing foliage of herbaceous perennials, and lift and divide overcrowded clumps to maintain
• Cut a few stems of holly for making Christmas garlands.
• Before the birds eat them all, cut a few stems of holly with berries for making Christmas garlands. Stand
them in a bucket of water in a sheltered spot where our feathered friends can't take them.
• Start to plant bare-root roses - they can be planted any time between now and March.
• Plant heathers, grasses and trailing ivy in pots for winter colour.
• Plant out spring bedding displays of pansies, violas and primulas.
• Early sowings of geranium seed can be made, remembering to provide a minimum temperature of 15ºC
(60ºF) that should be maintained for growing on the plants.
• Sowings can also be made of cactus.
• Cut down and lift dahlias and cannas once the top foliage has been frosted.
• Pot chrysanthemums should be kept moist and remember to deadhead regularly as this will keep the
• Remove cyclamen leaves that are yellowing along with faded flowers by pulling them from the corm,
however, to prevent leaves from turning yellow keep in a cool, light place.
• Plants that flower over winter must continue to be watered, but remember to cut down on the watering for
• Perennial plants that are past their best should be cut right down, remembering to clear away all remains
and added to the compost heap.
• Why not plant wallflowers in the spaces left as they will give strong, bright colour, or tulips could be planted
amongst the wallflowers to give a good contrast of colour.
• Of course, any suitable perennials or shrubs could always be planted instead.
• If you haven't already aerated your lawn, there's still time to do it before winter sets in. You can use either a
lawn aerator or simply insert a garden fork at regular intervals and lean it back slightly to let air in.
• Continue to clear fallen leaves off the lawn to keep it healthy.
• Remember to set your lawn mower to a higher cut-height for winter.
• Now your beds are clear, try edging your lawn. Lawn edging creates a neat and tidy appearance and makes
• Try gathering your leaves on to the lawn and mow them with a rotary mower that has a collection box on the
back. They will rot down quicker in your compost bins.
• If weather conditions are still mild and the grass is still growing give it a light trim; also continue to remove
any fallen leaves that have blown onto the lawn.
• A handy piece of equipment to have for removing leaves (plus other garden debris) not only from the lawn
but paths, between plants is an electric garden blower and vacuum but that’s the easy way. Why not
considerding killing two birds with one stone and gathering all the fallen leaves in your garden to create your
own leaf mould which is the equivelant of gardening gold-dust. We recommend using these really handy
(and very green) pack of 3 bio-degrable leaf sacks.
• A hollow-tined aerator can be used for spiking lawns and grit can be brushed into the holes for improved
• Keep off the lawn if soil conditions are wet or frosty.
• Replace damaged glass before the worst of the winter weather sets in.
• Insulate the greenhouse with sheets of bubble wrap attached to the inside of the frame, to reduce heat loss.
• Ventilate the greenhouse after watering or when paraffin heaters are used at night
• Clean out the greenhouse thoroughly. Wash the glass, the floor and the staging with horticultural
disinfectant to kill any overwintering pests and diseases.
• Install solar lights in the greenhouse so that you can still get out there on dark winter evenings to check your
• Don’t forget to ventilate the greenhouse, particularly after watering and when paraffin heaters are used at
• As the winter approaches, take special care to not to over water plants that remain in active growth. Little
and often is the key.