Gardening in November
Now it is starting to get cold from time to time. By this time you are no longer getting those sweet succulent tomatoes or the large firm peppers you have grown to love over the summer season. It is time for your garden to go into full fall mode. No more holding on to those sweet memories and reminiscing about those hot days in the garden pulling weeds and harvesting the abundance of produce you have grown. That is not to be said that you are not harvesting it just looks a bit different now and that is a good thing. These tips will help you continue on your fall gardening journey and prepare for the next stage in your gardens long life.
When you get a warm day or warmish go out to your garden and start the cleaning process. Get any tools you may have left out and put them away. Use this time a time to get better organized. Once you are done with that ( if you are like me it may take a while ) start on the plants. Start on removing any of the plants that are dead, sick, or not producing anymore. If they were healthy and just died from the cold then cut them up and add them to the compost pile. We want to feed our garden every year and why not feed it with what we grew! If the plants were sick or diseased then you want to remove them from your garden and DO NOT add them to the compost pile. This will do nothing but spread the disease the next year and you will start your garden off at a disadvantage. I tend to either bag them up and throw them in the trash or the more fun method is to burn them in the fire pit. I mean who doesn’t like a good fire in the fall and winter. By the time you are done with this part, your garden might feel empty, but you will have a clean better-looking slate for your garden planning. Also, at this time give the garden a good weeding cause you really want to stay on top of the weeds so they don’t take hold next year!
Remember those leaves we cut up last month and put into a pile? Well not is the time to add them to your garden. Go ahead and add a thick layer of mulch on top of your garden. If you do this now they will have time to start and break down inside your garden over the winter. Once again you will be starting the year off on a good note with more food and better soil in the garden. I tend to mix a little bit into the top inch of the soil and then add about 2 inches on top after that. If you have any compost made or can get some now would be a good time to add some. The mulch will also help to keep those pesky weeds at bay in the winter and smother the weed seeds that fell the previous year. Yup you read that right there are weeds that thrive in the cooler months and they can quickly take over in the spring in you do not keep them in check. This step is an important one for your garden. Look at it like this let nature do some of the work for you while you are enjoying the holidays and having your winter slumber.
Protect the tinder
If you are anything like me then you more than likely have planted something in your yard that could be just outside your zone. Meaning it may just get a little too cold for it in your area. Now is the time to show them some extra love. Simply add some mulch on top if the plant dies back or around them if it keeps some kind of foliage or structure to it in the dormant season. I dahlias in my yard and because I am on the edge of where they comfortably grow I add 3 inches of mulch right on top of them this time of year. Just don’t forget where they are so you can remove a little of it when it starts to warm up. If you have some tinder containers you can either move them inside or put them in a sheltered place. Surprisingly enough a lot of times an unheated garage is a good place as the temperatures stay a few degrees warmer than the outside temps. If you have tinder bulbs, you can always dig them up and store them in the refrigerator although this is a task I would never take part in! Generally speaking, it is always easier if you plant items that are happy in the zone you live in. It alleviates a lot of work in the fall and worry over the winter.
If you haven’t done so yet get out there and plant your garlic and onion bulbs. They need a good chill in order to produce that wonderful flavor we all know and love. You just want to make sure you get them planted before the ground freezes over. Simply take the bulb and plant it pointy side up about 2-3 inches deep. If you live in a warm climate why not try and plant some radishes to try and get a quick harvest before winter sets in. Radishes typically are ready to harvest on average 25 days after planting so it is totally possible to get a quick harvest out of them. This will also keep your soil active longer in the season. Remember this If you don’t plant anything you have zero chance of harvesting anything so what do you have to lose?
These fall gardening tips for this month in my experience and opinion are the most important steps during this season. It sets you up for the next year but you also continue to learn about growing in your zone. After all, that’s why you are here right? You want to learn. You can read all you want about gardening but until you try it you will never really begin to grasp the art of having a garden. So go on out there and start your clean up, mulching, protecting, and planting. Don’t forget to take the backyard gardens podcast out there with you while you work. You never know we might just have that tip you have been looking for in the latest episode.