Garden Jobs For November

As we move towards Christmas and the number of daylight hours become less and nights longer and colder much of the garden hibernates to avoid the worst of the weather but there are still garden jobs to do in November.

Most pests and diseases are also dormant at this time of year so it is a good time to clear out your garden shed ready for next year.  Pick a fine day and empty the shed, give it a good sweep out making sure not to miss any corners.  Discard or wash any used pots and seed trays as these can harbour disease, before stacking them by size in the shed.   Tools should be cleaned, sharpened and oiled before being stored again.  Discard any out of date or past their best chemical or organic powders and liquids like greenfly spray of plant feed, most of us end up with numerous half empty containers that never see the light of day and probably wouldn’t do what they are supposed to anyway.  Lawn mowers can also be and serviced while out of use.

Greenhouse should also be tidied but also wash down the glass as this will increase the amount of light getting to any over wintering plants.  Clear any dead or diseased looking growth off plants in your greenhouse to minimise pest and disease when temperatures rise again.

Check for any damage on woodwork around the garden such as pergolas, fencing and trellis.  Any necessary repairs and replacements are a little easier while the plants are dormant and generally not in the way.  Climbing plants can be gently untied and laid down while repairs are being made and then tied back in afterwards.

To prevent the build up of algae over the winter, which can make surfaces slippery, wash down patio’s, paths and decks with a hose and a stiff broom.

Out in the rest of the garden keep raking fallen leaves from lawns and try to keep off the lawn in very wet of frosty weather.  Check that tree stakes and ties are secure and tie in any long, loose growth on climbers to prevent damage by cold winds.  Keep fallen leaves and plant debris off the tops of clumps of perennials that have died back to maximise light reaching the plant and to discourage slugs and snails from sheltering too near the plant.

Tulips can be planted in November either in borders or containers in a sunny position.  If your soil is heavy clay add some coarse grit to the soil before planting the bulbs, as they don’t like to sit in waterlogged soil.  Bare root fruit trees and bushes can also be planted now.

Deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges can be pruned for the next few months.  Cut out any dead or diseased wood before pruning to shape, try to make as few cuts as possible to prevent disease entering the plant and if you are not sure what to do it is better to consult a tree surgeon than potentially lose a favourite tree or shrub.

Areas of your vegetable garden that don’t have winter crops growing should be dug over as the winter weather will help to break down the structure of the soil making it easier to work in the spring.  After digging apply well rotted manure and it will break down over the winter restoring nutrient levels in the soil.

Clear fallen leaves from ponds and continue to cut back old growth on plants growing in or around the water.  If the weather turns particularly cold gently melt a hole in the ice to allow fish to breathe and wildlife to drink.

Clean out any bird nesting boxes as these can harbour parasites and keep bird baths and feeders topped up to help garden birds to survive the worst of the weather.