November Gardening Chores

 Pile falling leaves on flower beds for winter insulation and returning nutrients to the soil.

Pile falling leaves on flower beds for winter insulation and returning nutrients to the soil.

November Gardening Chores

I survived moving all of my potted plants inside but just barely, had to escort the usual hijackers back outside – praying mantis, lizards, several garden spiders and one baby mouse.

1. Now that we are all settled inside, I am still moving potted plants around to give them optimum light conditions. My heat isn’t on yet so although the first frost for USDA zone 5b is a few weeks away, this should give the plants time to adjust and not drop so many leaves when the furnace kicks on.

2. Leaves have also been making their way onto flower beds for mulch and a layer that hopefully decomposes into soil over the next few years. I will be adding wood chips from our local recycling center after the first frost.

3. If you want to plant, or move trees, this is a good time to tackle that job. I prefer planting into final spots in spring so my seedlings are now in pots and heeled into the nursery garden bed. That will give me all winter to decide on their final destination.

4. It’s been very dry so remember to water. An inch a week is a good measure, especially for woody plants, such as azaleas and evergreens. When watering, check for damaged branches and remove. Once winter ice moves in, the ice will cause more damage than necessary on those weak and damaged limbs. I take pruners with me so I can also trim out suckers and branches that are too long, especially along where I regularly walk. No point in putting that off until later when the ground is covered in ice and snow.

5. If you haven’t done so already, this is a good time to empty out most of your composters. Most likely candidates to get the new rich soil amendment includes asparagus and strawberry beds.  I also added compost to my deck pots to get them ready for my next crops. I still have red onions growing so I may scatter some lettuce and spinach seeds.

6. Still need to mound my rose crowns with 6 inches of soil or so before the first frost. I have mounds of mulch already piled nearby to scatter on the plants after I add a layer of leaf mulch for extra insulation.

7. My purple coneflowers bloomed well this year so I have trimmed a few seed heads to plant in my nursery bed next year. The rest I leave for winter bird food.

8. Zinnias are finally in bloom. A bit late but that’s because I planted the seeds late earlier this year. I need to get them in the ground much earlier next year. Other annuals such as impatiens will winter over inside in hanging baskets.

9. Have grass to mow? You should be on the downside of the mowing seasons. Make the last cut when you see grass has stopped growing. Let clippings lie where they’ve been cut to restore Nitrogen to the soil. Have fun mowing over the leaves to shred and move them to flower beds.

 Cut your remaining garden flowers to enjoy in an inside bouquet.

Cut your remaining garden flowers to enjoy in an inside bouquet.

10. All spring-flowering bulbs planted? Me, neither, just found a bag of bone meal to add to the bottom of the holes. Should have all of those in the ground shortly, though!

Charlotte