November Growing Guides

November is a quiet month in the outside garden, while in the polytunnel a wide range of crops continues to thrive – unless you forgot to add some frost protection. If you didn’t address that yet, you should do so now. Otherwise, a single night of frost may kill or seriously damage many of the polytunnel crops – lettuce, pak choi, radish, Chinese cabbage, celery, rocket, mustard greens and chard – that you are hoping to harvest during the winter and early spring.

I use fleece cloches, each made from a strip of horticultural fleece about 2 metres wide and about a metre longer than the bed at each end. Hoops of 25mm-diameter are held in place across the bed, every 1.5m. I tie Bamboo canes along the top to create a ridge, adding strength to the structure as well as support for the fleece. The fleece is then draped over the whole thing, and the extra length hangs down at the ends to enclose the protected area. See ‘How To Grow Food In Your Polytunnel’ for pictures of a fleece cloche in place and detailed instructions on making one.

Because fleece prevents a few percent of the light hitting from getting through to the plants beneath, and also as it restricts ventilation, it isn’t something that should stay in place over the beds during warmer weather. My design is tied to bamboo stakes on the far side of the bed, and strings are tied to it at intervals along its near side. Then I can lift the fleece and push it back out of the way, or pull it into back position again quickly and easily.

I normally set up my frost protection by the end of October, but that’s because I like to stay a step or two ahead of January and February, usually the coldest months in the UK. They then stay in place until mid-April.

Top Tips

If you have an automatic watering system in place it’s a good idea to shut it down at the beginning of the month. Your plants will need far less water during the winter than the rest of the year, and closing the system gives you the chance to clean and maintain it as well as preventing frost damage.

Keep some water near to hand in your polytunnel, as during the winter it can act as a heat sink and help to keep the internal temperature just that little bit higher. A water butt is ideal, and once the weather warms up again you’ll be even happier you installed one – they’re great for watering seedlings while you figure out where to put the automatic system.

If you plan on heating your polytunnel over the winter, there are several options. Unfortunately polythene doesn’t hold heat quite as well as glass. However, if you put up a layer of bubble wrap inside your polytunnel you can substantially increase the insulation properties of the cover, and reduce heating costs. Polytunnel heaters run on bottled gas, paraffin, or electricity. The first two generate water as a by-product and the polytunnel will require more ventilation as a result, while electricity is the most expensive option of the three.

Continue to add compost to any bare patches that appear in the beds as you harvest your winter crops.

What To Grow

Sowing:
Broad beans, cabbage, coriander, garlic and elephant garlic. November is a great month for sowing garlic and elephant garlic, both of which need a period of cold weather to develop a good root system, leading to really big bulbs the following year.

You’re unlikely to get either courgettes or cucumbers to continue right until the end of the month, but you never know…

Please see our Top Of The Crops for a list of over 80 Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs and Spices, Flowers and Exotics.

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As the chill in the air gets chillier, it’s easy to forget to visit the garden. Many people don’t think of November as the season for gardening, but there’s always something to do or harvest in the garden.

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We focused on harvesting, maintaining active gardens, putting inactive gardens to bed for the season, and planting garlic and fruit crops in October. This month includes many of the same activities: harvesting, preparing the garden for winter, sowing garlic, and planting fruit plants. Following are some ideas for prioritizing what to do in the garden in November.

Remember, these November garden tasks are based on my gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a. You may need to make adjustments for your climate.

1. November Harvest

The growing season is coming to an end (or may be over depending on where you live) so I always harvest and process first before doing anything else in the garden.

Harvesting Cool Weather Crops in November

  • Beets & beet greens (Here are my tips for harvesting beets plus a ton of beet recipes)
  • Brassicas
    • Broccoli
    • Collards
    • Kale
    • Kohlrabi
    • Radishes
    • Rutabagas
    • Turnips (Greens are super tasty, too)
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

I love fall carrots!

Harvesting Warm Weather Crops in November

  • Dried (Soup) Beans
  • Peppers
  • Sweet potatoes (Here’s how to harvest, cure, and store sweet potatoes)
  • Tomatoes

Harvesting Herbs in November

  • Parsley
  • Rosemary (Learn how to keep your potted rosemary alive over the winter)
  • Thyme (Here are a few suggestions for using thyme)

Harvesting Perennial Crops in November

  • Apples
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Pawpaws (Asimina triloba)
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Quince
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries (everbearing)

Would you like more resources for planning and maintaining your garden through to harvest?

You’ll find loads of information just like this in my award-winning book, The Suburban Micro-Farm.

In fact, with your purchase, you’ll get FREE bonus resources such as calendars, checklists, and planting worksheets to help you get organized.

2. November Garden Maintenance

Here are the things I do in my garden to put the garden to bed and prepare for the winter months.

Cleaning Up

  • Cut spent flowers, or leave seed heads to feed the birds through the winter.
  • Leave vegetable flowers for bees, then save the seed. Here are some other fall flowers I grow for the bees.
  • Put (non-diseased) dead plant matter in the compost. Cut plants at the base and leave their roots intact.
  • Remove diseased plant matter and dispose in garbage.
  • Mulch beds. Here are some mulching tips.
  • Add soil amendments to inactive gardens with a digging fork. It’s the perfect time of year to improve soil.

Extending the Season

Set up a cold frame for fall and overwintering crops. Here are some cold frame tips.

Fertilizing

  • Cut back herbs and use them as fertilizer. Here’s how I use comfrey and how I use other herbs.

Seed Saving

  • Collect and save herb, flower, and vegetable seeds. Here’s how I save cilantro seeds and here are my tips for collecting calendula seed heads.
  • Be sure to store your seeds properly.

Weeding

Weeds can overwhelm even the most patient gardener so be sure to spend some time weeding. Here are five weeds you want in your garden and learn more about when weeds are good.

3. November Planting

Once my garden is under control, then I plant for the future! Don’t forget I’m gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a – you may need to make adjustments for your climate.

Sowing Outside in November

  • Garlic (Music hardneck variety is one of my favorites)

Planting Outside in November

  • Berry bushes (Plant aronia shrubs and grow your own superfood!)
  • Fruit trees (Here are my fruit tree planting tips)
  • Rhubarb (Try a beautiful red rhubarb)

Are you harvesting lots of good stuff this fall or are you putting the garden to bed?

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Fall Vegetables: 25 Veggies You Can Plant in November

Fall vegetables are my favorite! Did you know even as late as November there are all sorts of fall vegetables that you can be planting right now? While most people are putting away their gardening tools, there really is no end to the gardening season especially in Southern California. Not in sunny California? Read this great article about gardening with cold frames.

The weed garden (the sunshine makes it look pretty but it is just weeds)

This spring, when most people are starting their gardens, we were so busy with lambing that we never did a garden. That was really sad because I love the summer garden particularly. The zucchinis, melons, pumpkins, tomatoes, and all the other wonders of the spring and summer gardens. Of course we could have planted a summer garden, but then I had to go and break my arm.

Oh well. That just means that I need to be even more dedicated to the fall and winter garden.

The garden after a good weeding

Of course having said that I may be jumping the gun, considering that I only have 20° of movement in my wrist after breaking it. Not to mention I am not allowed to use it yet and when I do it swells up like a balloon.

As far as I can move my wrist upAnd down

Fortunately, we have lots of volunteers who help here and a few really good workers.

Fall Vegetables

Most people think that vegetables can only be grown in the spring and summer. However there are hot weather and cold-weather crops. Obviously in the fall and winter you plant cold-weather crops. These include carrots, lettuce, kale, onions, garlic and so on. These types of crops do much better when it is cold. When it gets hot, especially high desert hot, these plants will either not do well or they will go to seed – what is called bolting. If you want cold-weather crops, start planting them now and you can have nice fresh veggies all year round.

Wwoofers in the garden

25 veggies to plant now

November

  • asparagus
  • beet
  • Cabbage seeds
  • cabbage (plants)
  • Carrot
  • Chard
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Collard
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Horseradish
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • leek
  • head lettuce
  • leaf lettuce
  • Mustard Onion
  • Green bunch
  • Onion, seeds
  • Onion, sets
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Radish
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabaga
  • Salsify
  • Spinach
  • Turnip

What are you planting in your Fall Vegetable Garden? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below!

In November we begin to put the garden in order for winter. Clearing the last of the fallen leaves, planting tulips and composting the last remnants of summer from the borders. It is also a time to start afresh in the garden, review horticultural successes and failures, and plan for the next gardening year before our heads are filled with festive season.

Andrew Montgomery

Here are my top ten gardening jobs for November:

Dahlias and other tender bulbs should be dug up and stored in a cool, dark area after first frost.

2.

The ground should be cool enough to plant tulips over the next few weeks. Try to avoid planting after a heavy frost or in waterlogged areas of the garden.

3.

Winter heating dries the air out in your home. Help your house plants survive by misting them or placing the pots on a pebble filled tray of water to ensure adequate humidity and moisture. Avoid placing larger houseplants directly on tiles where underfloor heating is present, as this will cause them to dry out considerably.

4.

Clean and oil your garden tools for winter storage. Place some sand and some oil in a large bucket, then slide your garden tools in and out of the sand. This will do an excellent job of cleaning them, as well as applying a light coat of oil to prevent rusting. Clean any empty pots that have been hanging around in the garden before storing them in the shed over winter.

5.

Pot up some prepared flowering bulbs for indoor colour and scent during the winter. Store the pots in a cool, dark place, until new growth emerges from the soil and then move them to a bright window. Hyacinths, amaryllis and narcissus are easy to grow and make a fun rainy-day planting project for children.

6.

It’s time to fill your bird feeders for winter. Ensure that they are kept clean and well stocked over the coming months to encourage repeat visits from garden birds.

7.

There is still time to lift and divide your herbaceous perennials provided the soil isn’t waterlogged or frozen.

8.

You can start to prune your apple trees and pear trees as soon as they become dormant. Leave plum and cherry trees until next summer as winter pruning leaves them susceptible to disease, such as silver leaf.

9.

Protect your half-hardy plants such as Gunnera and Dicksonia (Tree Fern) by packing the crown straw and securing it in place with a layer of horticultural fleece or hessian sacks. Alternatively bring your plants into a greenhouse or conservatory if you have the space.

10.

Gather the last remaining blooms from the garden earlier in the month (if you haven’t had a visit from Jack Frost!). Prune back chrysanthemums almost to the ground after blooming.

For more where this came from follow Petersham Nurseries (@petershamnurseries) on Instagram.

Nights are drawing in, temperatures falling… it’s easy to think there’s nothing to raise at this time of year. Think again! Here’s a list of vegetables well worth planting in November.

Garlic

Although you can plant some types of garlic as late as early Spring, now is the best time. A good dose of frost encourages the bulbs to split into cloves. I always love planting garlic cloves in Autumn… helps me dream of long hot July days when the crop will be harvested.

To read up fully about how to plant garlic, the history, health benefits and common problems as well as some delicious recipes go to Allotment Heaven: Garlic (allium sativum).

Onions & shallots

Last chance to get onion or shallot sets in before Winter falls. My favourites are Japanese Sensyhu onions… hardy and easy to raise. You’ll find planting instructions for onions as well as a full background and recipes at Allotment Heaven: Onions (allium cepa).

Broad Beans

You can sow broad beans from February to May, so why bother in November? Well, it’s all about extending the cropping season. If you rely just on Spring sowings you’ll be typically harvesting in July and August. With an Autumn sowing you’ll also be cropping in June.

Peas

Same principle as for Broad Beans… extend the growing season by planting now.

What to sow and grow in November

Plant hellebores now in time for Christmas blooms
Image: Hellebore ‘Breeder’s Mix’ from Thompson & Morgan

Things are slowing down in the garden come November, but there are still plenty of plants that need sowing and growing in time for spring. Here are the flowers, vegetables and fruits that can be sown and grown this month.

Here are our top picks of seasonal things to sow and grow in the garden this month:

Flowers to sow and grow

Start lupins indoors for beautiful displays for years to come
Image: Lupin ‘Tutti Fruitti’ from Thompson & Morgan

In the greenhouse/indoors

  • • Sow sweet peas in a cool greenhouse or cold frame for an early display next year.
  • • Try growing perennials such as laurentia, delphinium, verbascum, foxglove, cyclamen and lupin from seed in the greenhouse this month.

Plant outdoors

Plant daffodil bulbs in preparation for spring
Image: Narcissus ‘Sweet Aroma Mixed’ from Thompson & Morgan

  • • Plant spring flowering bulbs. Consider investing in a bulb planter to speed up the process or to naturalise bulbs into grassed areas of your garden.
  • • Plant tulip bulbs this month, remembering to avoid shallow planting as this can reduce the winter cold period that tulip bulbs need to produce flowers in spring.
  • • Plant Christmas roses (hellebores) now for beautiful winter flowers.
  • • Continue to plant daffodil bulbs.
  • • Plant up a terracotta pot of hyacinth bulbs for a simple but stunning display next spring.
  • • Plant a magnolia tree now for a beautiful spring display.
  • • Start to plant bare-root roses – they can be planted any time between now and March.
  • • Plant heathers, grasses and trailing ivy in pots for winter colour.
  • • Plant out spring bedding displays of pansies, violas and primulas.

Vegetables & herbs to sow and grow

Sow hardy pea varieties to bulk out your first harvest of the new year
Image: Pea ‘Meteor’ (First Early) seeds from Thompson & Morgan

  • • Sow pots of herbs in a heated greenhouse or on a bright windowsill indoors. Try basil, dill, chives and parsley.

In the cold frame/under cloches

  • • Sow spring onion ‘Performer’ under cloches.
  • • Sow pak choi under cloches outdoors.
  • • Sow winter salads under glass, protected by cloches or on a bright window sill indoors. Choose types that won’t require extra heat such as ‘Winter Gem’, winter land cress, purslane, and corn salad.

Direct sow outdoors

  • • Sow hardy broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ outdoors.
  • • Sow pea ‘Meteor’ outdoors for an early crop next year.
  • • Plant overwintering onion sets and garlic. For something different this year, try the massive elephant garlic.
  • • Plant asparagus crowns now for tasty homegrown spears.
  • • Plant out spring cabbage plants at the beginning of the month.

Fruit to sow and grow

Put in a support system for raspberry canes before planting
Image: Raspberry ‘Autumn Bliss’ (Autumn fruiting) from Thompson & Morgan

  • • Plant rhubarb crowns now in well-prepared soil. Add plenty of organic matter – they are hungry feeders!
  • • Plant out strawberry runners and plants.
  • • Plant raspberry canes and blackberries now, and remember to put a support system in place for the canes before planting.
  • • Plant gooseberries and currants now for a vigorous start to next season.
  • • Plant blueberry plants this month. Blueberries prefer a slightly acidic soil, but do very well in patio containers if your garden soil is not acidic.

Keep one step ahead – what to order this month

Order cyclamen seeds now for December sowing
Image: Cyclamen persicum grandiflorum ‘Victoria’ from Thompson & Morgan

  • • Order cyclamen seeds, which like cooler temperatures, ready to sow from December to March.
  • • Buy gooseberries and currants ready to go out next month.
  • • Order hardy Broad Bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ to sow outdoors in December.

For much of the United States, your outdoor growing season will be over by November and your garden already put to bed for the winter. In more moderate climates, you will continue to harvest cool weather fall crops and prepare your garden for the following spring planting. However, there are still a few vegetables that can be planted in some regions in November. Wherever you live, you can grow microgreens year round to ensure your family has a constant supply of nutritious greens.

Here is a breakdown of what to plant in November for each region of the United States.

ALASKA
For most of Alaska, the growing season is long gone by November. Best to sit back and enjoy the winter.

CENTRAL/MIDWEST
For most of the Central/Midwest region, there will be nothing left to plant until next spring. You may be able to get some garlic and cool weather bulbs in the ground if the ground has yet to freeze.

GULF COAST
In most parts of the Gulf Coast, you may have sown your last seeds in October but you will likely be fine planting well into November.

Sow Indoors: kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce and onions.

Herbs: most herbs can be grown year round in Hawaii.

MID-ATLANTIC
The planting season is usually over by November in the Mid-Atlantic. You may still be able to get some garlic in the ground.

NEW ENGLAND
New England’s growing season is usually over by November.

NORTH CENTRAL & ROCKIES
For the North Central, you are likely done planting until next spring by November.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST
November marks the end of the planting season for the Pacific Northwest. You might still get some garlic in the ground, but that’s about it.

SOUTHERN INTERIOR
It’s likely you won’t be planting in November in the Southern Interior, but you may be able to plant some fast maturing cool weather crops like spinach or arugula and can still get garlic in the ground in some parts of this region.

SOUTHWEST
In parts of the southwest, you will have finished planting by the end of October but you may still get these few vegetables in the ground in most areas.

OTHER TIPS FOR NOVEMBER GARDENING
Add lots of organic matter to your garden beds in November before the ground freezes. This will help ensure fertile soil for the next spring planting.

Test soil pH in November and amend with sulfur or lime if necessary to get the proper acidity before the next spring planting season.

Clean up your garden for the winter. Move organic matter into compost bins. Harvest and store seeds.

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