As November unfolds and the vibrant foliage of autumn turns to a sea of fallen leaves, garden owners might be tempted to kick back and let the garden rest. However, there are essential tasks to tackle before the frosty grip of winter takes hold. In this guide, we’ll walk you through a to-do list to ensure your garden is well-prepared for the colder months ahead.
Raking Leaves: A Fall Necessity
One of the most visually striking features of November is the carpet of fallen leaves blanketing the garden. While it may be tempting to leave them, it’s crucial to clear your lawn of these leaves. The reason? If left unattended, the grass can rot and mold beneath them. Consider gathering them into piles in a secluded corner of your garden, creating a welcoming haven for hibernating hedgehogs, or use them to enrich your compost.
Winterizing Your Garden: Prepare for the Chill
With winter’s chill approaching, it’s time to take steps to protect your garden infrastructure:
- Water Taps: Turn off outdoor water taps to prevent freezing.
- Water Collection Tanks and Barrels: Empty, clean and securely cover them.
- Gasoline-Powered Equipment: If you have a lawnmower that runs on gasoline, ensure it’s free of any remaining gasoline before storing it.
- Tools and Equipment: Before stowing them away, thoroughly clean your garden tools and equipment to ensure they’re ready for action next season.
Planting Bulbs and Protecting Vulnerable Plants
While the landscape may seem barren, it’s a perfect time to get a head start on spring:
- Spring Flower Bulbs: Before the first frost, plant the bulbs of your favorite spring flowers.
- Tender Tubers and Rhizomes: For non-hardy tubers and rhizomes like dahlia tubers, dig them up and bring them indoors to shelter them from the winter cold.
- Protecting Vulnerable Plants: Some plants won’t survive winter outdoors. Make sure to bring them inside, and for those that can tolerate milder frosts, wrap them in a protective cover.
Sowing Seeds for Cold Weather Plants
For gardeners who love a year-round challenge, November is the ideal time to sow seeds of plants that thrive in cold weather. Consider planting the seeds of Christmas roses or Asian bleeding-hearts in pots; both can withstand the winter chill while nestled in your garden.
Preparing the Soil for Next Season
Take advantage of the soil’s willingness to cooperate during the winter months:
- Clay Soil: If you’re dealing with heavy, compacted clay soil, now is the time to dig it up. Winter frosts will naturally break up the rough clods and turn your soil into a crumbly haven for plants next season.
- Compost: Don’t forget to tend to your compost pile. This is an ideal time to relocate it to a fresh spot and cover it with straw or protective foil to shield it from the cold.
Tidying Up Your Raspberry Bed
If you have fall raspberries, it’s essential to cut back the one-year canes completely to ground level. However, leave these cut canes in the bed. They serve as winter shelters for beneficial organisms and help protect the soil.
Planting in Mild Weather
When the weather remains relatively mild and the soil temperature stays above 5°C, you still have a window of opportunity to plant bushes and trees. Plants set in the ground during the autumn will have a head start come spring, compared to their spring-planted counterparts.
A Winter-Ready Garden
As November ushers in the winter season, don’t neglect your garden’s needs. The steps outlined in this guide will help ensure a healthy and thriving garden in the months to come. So, grab your gardening gloves, embrace the crisp autumn air and get your garden ready for winter’s arrival.