November Gardening Chores

Bring in favorite herbs to winter over in a sunny window, this is a rosemary. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Bring in favorite herbs to winter over in a sunny window, this is a rosemary. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

November Gardening Chores

1. Not the highest item on my November gardening chores list but one I am looking forward to doing, which is getting my gardening books organized all in one place in my renovated basement library.  Even though it’s easy to assume all books are available online, that’s not true, especially the more scholarly horticultural books.

 Other gardening chores for this month include:

 2. Settling potted plants into windows that will give them the light conditions they need. Some potted herbs in particular need good sunlight over winter.

 3. Check the last of the garden center plant sales and bury the plants still in their pots into the ground. Make sure to water and mulch so they will successfully pull through winter.

 4. Dry leaves make good flowerbed mulch. Add a layer of aged mulch on top of leaves to develop a good protective layer.

 5. 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.

If you planted mums, remember to water them every other week through winter so they can get established. I planted this mum last fall and it nicely regrew on its own this year. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

If you planted mums, remember to water them every other week through winter so they can get established. I planted this mum last fall and it nicely regrew on its own this year. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

 6. Empty most of your composters on asparagus and strawberry beds. This year I will also feed my new raspberry and blueberry beds.

 7. If you have newly-planted roses, mound 6 inches of soil around rose crowns and add a layer of dry leaves covered in mulch for extra insulation.

 8. If you haven’t saved seeds for next year, split the difference with your local birds and collect half of your seed supply to dry. The other half will give birds a nice winter treat.

 9. You should be on the downside of the mowing season. 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.

 10. Did you pull a poinsettia through the year from last Christmas? I have two. They are now sitting in a room that doesn’t get evening light hoping the bracts will turn color in time for this holiday.

 11. Which reminds me, if you want your Christmas cactus to bloom next month, this is a good time to place it with your poinsettia. Mine started blooming in September because they are temporarily staying in my dining room as we finish the basement work. I’m good with the splashes of color any time of the year.

 12. Update your garden diary with what worked well and what you want to try next year. I have found it’s easier to do it now than to try to remember details mid-January.

 Charlotte


 

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