Tasks for November
If you haven't started already, now is a good time to start putting out extra food for the birds. Help them through the winter when a natural source of food in the garden is scarcer by supplementing their diet with fat balls, seeds and mealworms
Now is the time to plant Tulip bulbs. Tulips fare better when planted once the weather is colder. Create beautiful displays now for flowering next spring.
Collect leaves now from lawns and ponds to make leafmould. Instead of getting rid of leaves, why not create a compost bay for leaves which will break down into leafmould which is great for adding onto borders as a soil improver or mixing with compost. If you don't have the space for a compost bay/bin, you can simply collect them in a bin bag. Be sure the leaves are moist so they can decay properly.
Now is a great time to plant garlic bulbs, for harvest next summer. Plant in a sunny spot and keep weed free. Softneck garlic tends to store for longer than hardneck garlic but hardneck can cope better with harsher winters.
If you don't already have some, it's time to invest in some fleece or cloches, especially if you grow your own. That way you can keep the ground warmer for your winter veg. This is also good at preventing any pigeons from being a nuisance and destroying your brassicas.
Raise pots now onto either pot feet or bricks to prevent the pots from becoming saturated over the winter. Raising the pots off the ground allows the water to drain away more freely.
Now is a good time to prune back your roses (except ramblers) to prevent wind rock from damaging the roots. Reduce the stems by about 50%.
Now is a good time to lift and store dahlia tubers. Simply lift up out the ground with a fork, shake off as much soil as possible and cut back the stems to close to approximately 10cm from the tuber. Rinse the tubers down and inspect, disposing off any which are rotten or soft. Put the dry tubers into pots of either dry compost or vermiculate and store in a dry, frost-free place such as a shed or garage.
If you sow some sweet pea seeds now, they will flower earlier than if sown next year. Sow seeds into pots, cardboard tubes (from kitchen roll etc) or root trainers. Sweet peas have quite a deep root system and don't like their roots disturbed so it's best to plant into pots/tubes which are deep enough to let them grow well.
If you have a greenhouse, it's good practice to clean it down along wit any staging now to avoid any build up of pests and diseases for next years growing season. Once cleaned, you can always line the inside of your greenhouse with bubble wrap to help insulate and keep the temperature inside a little warmer.
Prune autumn fruiting raspberries now down to the ground to encourage new growth for next years fruits.
Now is the time to take hardwood cuttings. It's easy to do and a very cost effective way of bulking up quantities of plants. Fruit bushes, roses, flowering shrubs and many trees can be propagated by this method.
Cut a 30-60cm length of straight stem pencil thickness of this year's growth, and divide into lengths between 15-30cm long. Cut straight across the bottom and at an angle at the top (so you can remember which way up to plant it and to provide an angle for water to run off). Strip any leaves so you have bare straight stems, and put into a pot of gritty compost, with the cutting two thirds into the pot, or outside in a trench filled with gritty sand to ensure good drainage. Leave until next autumn, ensuring they are kept well watered.
Clean and sharpen tools now to minimise the spread of diseases and to ensure nice clean cuts when pruning.
Wash out all plastic and ceramic pots and seed trays so they are clean and ready for use next year, this will minimise the spread of pests and diseases and keep the pots in good condition.