We’ll start each month with a list of the top 5 things you should do outside in your garden that month to keep your garden healthy, your property looking great, and your mind free from worry! It can be a source of stress when your yard is overrun with weeds or leaves, but your outdoor space should be just the opposite. One of our main goals here is to inspire and help you to make your outdoor space the place you want to spend the most time, the place you can get away from all the mind pollution the world is throwing at you, your escape. We also want it to be easy for you to get it that way and keep it that way without a lot of time and effort, so we will offer a schedule to break down the duties so that the tasks are manageable and no one gets overwhelmed.
Keep in mind that we are writing from zone 7b and our experience lies in zones 6 and 7, but the majority of these tasks will be applicable for most gardens, especially those that experience the change of seasons. Here is what you can do in your garden in November:
Fall is for planting, as “they” say, whoever they may be, but “they” are correct in this case. Now is a great time to pick up some bargains at the nurseries and garden centers. Go for it! Get outside in the cool fall air, do some planting, and you’ll be happy you did! In most areas, this is the ideal time to plant bulbs (tulips, daffodils, iris, hyacinths, etc.) for spring color. You can plant bulbs, perennials, trees, shrubs, and cool season annuals (pansies, violas, ornamental cabbage and kale, etc.) before the ground freezes. Trees and shrubs planted now have months to establish healthy roots before summer rolls around. If you don’t want to buy anything new, you can move plants around in your garden. Maybe your landscape is looking too crowded and you want to space things out. Autumn is the time to divide perennials and transplant. Water any new or transplanted plants as needed until the ground freezes.
Harvest everything you can before the first frost and if you haven’t turned over your vegetable garden, now is the time. You can plant a cover crop if you want to.
Empty, clean, and put your containers away in storage. (You CAN reuse the soil once more, IF this was the first year you used the soil AND your plants were healthy. You may need extra fertilizer though.)
Cut back perennials and remove any extra debris from garden beds. Clean up foliage, especially if it’s diseased.
Lightly prune shrubs and trees. (Do NOT prune spring-flowering shrubs, such as azaleas, now. Wait until after they finish blooming.)
Mulch landscape beds if necessary.
The leaves have begun to fall and routine lawn mowing has come to an end. Unless the leaves are really thick on the lawn, it is a good idea to mow the leaves and grind them into mulch for the lawn. Leaves are a great source of nutrients that can benefit the lawn and also help suppress dandelions. If the leaves get too thick, you may have to rake them up or bag them with the mower. Don’t throw them out though! They’re a great mulch for the landscaping, vegetable garden, or wooded areas of your property. Don’t pay someone to take your leaves and lawn clippings and then buy back the mulch or compost.
Disconnect and drain garden hoses and cover spigots and faucets to prevent freeze damage. Blow out your irrigation system. Get outdoor showers, fountains, ponds, hot tubs, pools, and any other outdoor water sources ready for winter.
Get your soil tested this month. In most areas, your local agriculture extension office will be able to do this or point you in the right direction. If the ph level of your soil is off, you can add lime. You will be a step ahead for the spring and ready to grow.
November is all about cleaning up and getting ready for colder temperatures. You can still plant as long as the ground isn’t frozen, but this is nature’s reset and get ready to relax time. We’ve cleaned up more yards than we’d like to remember over the past few decades and would happily answer any questions you may have. Drop us a comment below!