Grow it Yourself – November

Jobs in the garden are naturally diminishing at this time of year, but there are still a few things to do. At the start of this month we have just had our first proper frost, so now is the time to lift parsnips and pick sloes. Remember to always leave some berries on bushes for the wildlife at this time of year.

You might also be continuing to harvest kale, cabbage, sprouts, Jerusalem artichokes and beetroot. You could even be picking the last few climbing beans at this time of year. In terms of planting and sowing, now is the time to plant garlic, shallots and onions. It is also the best time of year to plant bare root fruit bushes, trees and canes. You can sow broad beans and leafy crops such as rocket, in a seed tray on a warm windowsill.

November is the month for taking hardwood cuttings from fruit bushes, pruning apple and pear trees and cutting dormant Autumn fruiting canes to ground level. Bearing increased rainfall and wind in mind, make sure your water butts are clear of any blockages so that you can efficiently store rain water. With the arrival of hard frosts and colder weather, you should look at insulating your greenhouse, bringing potted herbs indoors and using cloches to protect peas, beans and salad leaves.

This is also a good month for some ‘housekeeping’ in the garden! Tidy up strawberry beds, clear out finished tomato and cucumber plants, and use any spent compost as a mulch to help protect other plants. You can also spread fresh manure on veg plots, to rot down in the colder months ready for Spring. Wash out pots and trays ready for use.

You might want to consider building a compost bin, if you haven’t yet, and you could collect fallen leaves to create leaf mold, which is a very rich compost. Think about how to best support your garden visitors into the colder months as well. Birds will benefit from the provision of baths and food, and cuttings can be left in a pile for insects and small mammals.