November gardening chores really highlight the differences in regional gardens. For many, there is no November garden to speak of. Others can't wait for the cool days and slower pace of fall vegetable gardening. But even if your garden is already covered in snow, there are still garden tasks calling: last-minute bulbs to plant, leaves that should not go to waste, roses that need some TLC and, unfortunately, insect pests are much hardier than their tiny size would suggest. You will still want to be on the alert for signs of trouble, inside and out.
On a more positive side, winter is a great time to evaluate your garden layout. You can clearly see the architecture or bones of your garden. If the view of your garden is less than inspiring or non-existent in winter, You should make some notes to add more definition in terms of things like structures, evergreens, or other architectural elements.
Take a look at what you could be doing in your November garden and try to schedule a little time outdoors before the holidays claim you.
General November Garden Care
- Rake leaves and make leaf mold or compost.
- Clean, sharpen, and oil garden tools.
- Finish winterizing your water garden.
- Start forcing bulbs like paperwhites, hyacinth, and amaryllis for the holidays.
- Add organic matter to beds.
- Cover compost so that rain doesn't flood and leach the nutrients.
- Keep weeding. It's easier to see the weeds once the garden plants die back. Now is a great time to get rid of some perennial weeds that stay green all year.
- Keep watering, until the ground freezes. Pay particular attention to anything you planted late in the season.
Caring for Indoor Plants in Winter
- Check that indoor plants are receiving enough water, humidity and air circulation.
- Keep an eye out for pests like spider mites and scale, and take care of them before they become a problem.
- Although many indoor plants go dormant in winter, watch for signs that they are not getting enough light (yellowing leaves, straggly stems...) and move your plants to a brighter spot, if necessary.
November Garden Tasks for Frost Free Areas
- Perennials can be divided now.
- Plant Roses, Azaleas, Camellias & Tropical Fruit Trees suited to your areas, as they become available.
- Prune flowering trees as they drop their blossoms.
- Keep planting bulbs that don't require a cold period (amaryllis, anemone, calla lily, freesia, homeria, lilies, oxalis, Ranunculus, Sparaxis, watsonia) and annuals that are cool-season bloomers
- Keep your fall vegetable garden going. Harvest often and succession plant.
- Sow wildflower seeds.
- Keep an eye out for insect pests.
Caring for Your Garden in November in Frosty Zones
- Continue harvesting vegetables like Brussels sprouts and carrots, that can handle frost.
- Keep watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.
- Protect your roses by mounding soil around the crown and covering the bud union. Tie down climbing rose canes to protect them from cold winds.
- Clean up garden debris and cut back and remove any diseased or infested foliage.
- Protect evergreens from deer damage by circling with stakes and burlap or spraying with a deterrent.
- Protect the bark of young trees from mice damage by wrapping wire fencing around the bottom portion of the trunk. Use something like hardware cloth, with extremely small openings.
- Protect plants from vole damage by not mounding mulch too close to the plant.
- Get those bulbs into the ground NOW.
- Drain and store hoses.
If you're planning on buying a live Christmas tree with the intention of planting it this winter, dig the hole now, before the ground freezes. Remember to keep the soil covered, so that it too does not freeze and can go back into the hole.
November Garden Tasks for Borderline Zones (Pacific NW, Southwest & Southeast)
- Plant cool-season vegetables
- Plant asparagus and cut back tops of existing asparagus plants after they are yellowed by frost
- There's still time to plant a cover crop in the vegetable garden
- Watch for frost warnings. Extend the harvest by protecting plants with row covers
- Sow wildflower seeds
- Beef up snail and slug patrol
- Ward of cankerworms on trees by applying sticky barriers, like Tanglefoot, once leaves have dropped (Southeast)