What to do in your garden this month – November
November is here with its strong winds, rain and frost bringing with it a definitive end to any warmth we may have had. You may not want to spend much time in your garden at the moment, but there are always gardening jobs that need to be done. With November being the middle of the dormant period for your garden, now is a great time to take on any general maintenance that needs to be done. In November, as the temperature drops further, you should be protecting your garden from the cold using fleecing and wraps to protect and insulate plants. Plants that are movable should be put into a greenhouse, conservatory or even a sheltered spot. If you are unable to move your plants, they wrapping them in a protective fleecing will offer some protection from the weather.
Try to keep your garden clear of fallen leaves and debris, especially if you have a pond.
Ponds in the winter
In the winter ponds need to be kept a close eye on, particularly if you have fish living in your pond. A frozen pond can harmful to fish due to a lack of oxygen. If your pond does freeze over during the winter, do not hit the ice to break it as this can be harmful to the fish. Instead, place a hot pan on the surface, or pour warm water over it once a day. Floating a plastic ball on the surface of the water can prevent freezing for a short period of time, as the movement the ball causes in the water can help to stop ice from forming. Trim back branches and plants from around the pond to ensure that as much light as possible can get to the pond so that any plants within the pond are able to photosynthesis and produce oxygen in the pond. Once the winter weather sets in fish should no longer be fed.
Compost in pots and containers can freezer during colder months, which can kill plants. Plant pots and containers can be protected from frosts with a plastic bubble wrap, available in the garden centre. Where possible, pots should be raised off the ground using purpose made container feet, or bricks work just as well and remove any saucers, to avoid the compost in containers becoming waterlogged. Overwatering plant containers is where a lot of people go wrong, containers should be kept moist but not overly sodden. Most plants are not happy sat in water and prefer to have a good bit of drainage. Check Evergreens once a week to see if they are drying out, water them if needed. Plants will not need to be fed during winter months. Frost can crack large containers, so cover large pots with a fleecing or wrap to insulate them over the winter.
Preparing for your spring garden
You still have a bit of time to get your spring flowering bulbs planted as early as possible this month. Tulip and Lily bulbs can be planted in November. Lily bulbs will flower naturally in summer but if they are planted in to pots, they can be brought inside during spring to encourage them to flower early.
Fallen debris and leaves will prevent sunlight and moisture from getting to your lawn, so rake our lawn regularly.
Trees and Shrubs in November
Late autumn, just before the ground freezes can be an ideal time to plant roses, but avoid planting where roses have been grown before as they may contract diseases from previous plants. Bush roses can be trimmed back now to reduce the risk of ‘wind-rock’. These usually have shallow roots so don’t cope well in bad weather. Any young trees and shrubs growing in unsuitable areas can be transplanted at this time of year. When pruning trees and shrubs, have a close look at branches for any rot, dieback or small cankers, which can be a sign of disease.
Have a check around the garden to ensure that all tie sand stakes are strong enough to cope with strong winds during the winter months.
Give Wildlife a helping hand in winter
Animals that don’t hibernate during the winter such as birds and squirrels can struggle in the colder months, burning energy and using up their fat reserves to keep warm. Simple jobs in the garden can be a great help to wildlife at this time of year, such as tidying up fallen leaves into a pile to create a bit of shelter form the elements for hedgehogs and insects. If you have any mature ivy, avoid cutting it back for the time being as flowers can provide a bit late autumn pollen for any late-comers. Ivy berries are a food source for birds later on in the year, while its leaves can house insects from the winter. Bird houses and nest boxes can contain fleas and parasites which can be harmful for its inhabitants, so it is a good idea to give them a clean using only a mild detergent, hot water and a scrubbing brush.
As winter draws in, house plants should be watered less. Central heating can dry the air out in the house, so tropical plant can benefit from being placed on a tray of wet gravel. Tropical plants also liked to be grouped together, creating their own microclimate.
Over the winter months succulents and cacti usually have a dormant period, so do not feed. Growth and flowering should continue in the spring with regular feeding and care.
In the Greenhouse
To ensure that your greenhouse does its job and is kept frost free you will need to add insulation or a heating system. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to tidy and clean your greenhouse using disinfectant.
Winter bedding can be planted if the weather is still relatively mild. Aim to plant on a mild and sunny day if possible in moist soil. Take measures to ensure that good drainage is possible especially with clay soil by digging some grit into the soil, as frequent rains are likely at this time of year.
Odd Jobs in the garden in November
Gardening equipment such as hedge trimmers and lawnmowers which will be stored over the winter should be cleaned and dried. Now is it great time to service all machines when they are going to be in storage. Shears and other tools can be cleaned and sharpened.
With the days getting shorter over the winter months, it may be a good idea to invest in some garden lighting if you don’t already have it.
This time of year is great to sit down and plan what you may like to grow in your garden next year, thinking about what seeds, plants and tools you may want to purchase. For any advice or tips on what to grow and how to plan for the following year, pop in to Grimsby Garden Centre to have a conversation with one of our horticultural staff.