In many places, November is the time of year when things begin to slow down. Many plants go dormant, outdoor activities like grilling cease, and people focus on indoor plants and activities. However, it isn’t time yet to put away your gardening tools for good. There are still a few things that you can, and should, do outdoors in November to improve your garden. We’ve compiled four of the most important tasks to accomplish this November, with all the tips and tricks you need to get them done.
If you had a fall vegetable garden, be sure to bring in the last of the harvest. You may have already completed this step if you live in a cooler region, but, for those further south, this is the perfect time to wrap up your harvests. Be sure to store them somewhere dark and cool, like the fridge or a cellar (depending on what you were growing), or can them so they last longer. Any produce that’s left on the vine for too much longer will begin to rot or suffer frost damage.
Go ahead and harvest your fall flowers, too. Some flowers are edible and make great additions to meals. Others can be dried, for a bit of spring color all year round. Dried flower arrangements can help lighten the mood in a room, especially in regions with longer, darker winters.
Soil erosion is often mentioned in regards to river banks and exposed mountain sides, but it can happen in your garden, too. This is especially true in fall and winter, when the wind picks up, the snow and freezing rains come down, and there are fewer plants in your garden to anchor the soil in place. Cover crops can be a big help with this, but those are best planted in September or October.
If November rolls around and you didn’t plant a cover crop, you can still protect your garden. Mulch in particular is a good option, especially since many gardeners already make use of it, so you may have some on hand. You can use either organic or inorganic mulch, from wood chips to gravel. You can even just secure a tarp over top of your empty garden, avoiding any dormant plants that are left behind. Just remember that whatever you add will have to be removed before you can plant your garden in the spring.
If you have any outdoor furniture, it’s important to protect it from any snow, freezing rain, sleet, or hail that may be on its way. This can take a couple different forms, depending on the type of furniture you have and what climate you live in.
If your area is prone to hail, then any glass-topped tables should be moved under cover for the winter. Many commercially produced metal furniture sets come weather resistant, but, if your furniture is old or you aren’t certain if it’s resistant, then you may want to reseal it. Wood furniture should be sealed, to prevent water damage. You can also secure a water-proof tarp or cover over them, which is particularly helpful for furniture with fabric seats or cushions.
When the weather turns colder, and most plants begin to die back or go dormant, a lot of space opens up in your garden that was previously covered. This can sometimes reveal weeds that were previously unreachable, making November an ideal time for some serious weeding. Since the other plants are already dead or dormant, the risk of accidentally damaging the plants you want in your garden is significantly lower. This means you can really get in there with a hoe or spade and get to the root of these stubborn weeds.
Put these four tasks on your to do list this November for a healthy, thriving garden (and safe furniture) come spring. They should keep you busy, but not too busy. More importantly, they can help you protect your garden and your outdoor furniture so that, when the thaw comes, they’re there waiting for you. However, these are also only four of many possible tasks you could take on. You know your garden best, so do what you need to do to keep it healthy this November!
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