Can you believe it’s already November? This year has flown by and in the flash of an eye we’re deep into the autumn. Many may think that as November comes, there isn’t many jobs to do in the garden. This is untrue! There’s plenty of tidying, protection for winter and preparations for next year to do! Here’s what we think you should do this month:
- Clear up fallen leaves – don’t leave them on grass for too long or they will kill the lawn beneath. Leave them on beds however as earthworms will pull them into their burrows, continuing the natural cycle. The nutrients from these leaves will replenish your soil. If the fallen leaves are covering small plants, remove them so they do not suffocate the plants beneath. Sweep off paths and terraces to keep the garden looking cared for. With all of these leaves you have collected, create a separate pile next to your compost heap. As they begin to mould, it will rot into a great soil improver as the remnants of the leaf retain moisture and helps with drainage.
- Plant tulip bulbs in time for spring – Now is the perfect time to get planting! Your bulbs will keep nice and cozy in the ground over winter, ready to sprout as spring comes!
- Insulate outdoor containers! Any plant pots or containers that will be staying outside this winter must be protected! If your plants get too cold, they will die. We suggest wrapping them in bubble wrap as an extra layer of protection from the frosts. It would also be a good step to raise your pots using blocks or bricks to prevent them from being waterlogged when the rain comes.
- Feed the birds!!! During winter, birds need all the help they can get. Frosty ground and a lack of new growth can make it very difficult for them to find food. Help them out by investing in a bird table and leaving food out for them. Suet is a great snack to leave out for your feathered friends as it is very high in calories so will boost their energy. You could also try fruit, millet and seed mixes as these will give the birds a variety of nutrients. Seed mixes are also perfect as the different seeds will attract different types of bird, giving you even more species to spot! Another thing you may not expect to be giving birds is salt! Salt is an essential mineral in a bird’s diet, however they often try to get it off of the road when they have been gritted which is extremely dangerous. If you create a saltwater solution and let it evaporate to crystals, you can place it on a bird table or place them on a log.
- Use your bonfire to dispose of garden debris that is unfit for composting. This could be leaves that have fallen from rose bushes that have suffered with blackspot or rust or debris from an apple tree with apple scab. This will reduce the risk of infection next year.
- Plant out winter plants such as heathers, grasses and ivy to provide your garden with a splash of colour this winter.
- It’s time to harvest your parsnips! Once the first frosts have hit, it’s the perfect time to dig up your parsnips as they will have just begun to sweeten in flavour.
- You may feel like this is the end of the fruit and vegetable growing season but you would be wrong! This is a great time to plant up a perennial vegetable bed of rhubarb and asparagus crowns as well as autumn garlic and mushrooms. You can also plant raspberry canes and currant bushes! As for the plants you have already harvested, spread the beds with manure to rot down over winter, prune your apple and pear trees and tidy up your strawberry plants.
November also brings Bonfire Night, but how can you keep yourself and your garden safe this month? Read our guide.