Although it has been very busy, I have managed some gardening in November. Time outside makes me feel better. I think it must be the mix of fresh air and time to think while getting some gentle exercise.
I’ve been emptying out the sacks of leaf mould from previous years over the vegetable beds. The chickens get free run of the garden at this time of year and help by scratching around, spreading the leaf mould about the beds and adding their own fertiliser at the same time! It is a good time of year to empty the compost so the frost, worms and chickens can work their magic over the winter.
We have had some cold but sunny days this month but you soon get very warm raking up the leaves. I have recycled the sacks and am building up a supply behind the garage to leave to rot down for a year or two. Free goodness for the soil and some exercise. I soon got hot raking away even though it was nippy outside.
Tomatoes have been growing in the greenhouse from July and we have had the best crop ever. Our neighbour grew the plants and gave us a mix of cherry, plum and beef tomato plants. My favourite is Gardener’s Delight. It is heavy cropping and grows inside or outside providing a heavy crop of large cherry tomatoes. We have used them in salads, cooking and preserving.
There is always a surprise gardening in November and this year it was the pepper plants in the greenhouse. In past years I have struggled to keep them going by the end of the summer. This year they kept going until the first frosts hit.
We cleared the greenhouse last week and picked a large bowl of tomatoes and a couple of tiny peppers before pulling up the plants. We don’t heat the greenhouse over winter and I usually stop growing now. This year, I want to try a few hardy salad leaves and maybe some chard. I’ll see how it goes. I like the idea of picking something homegrown in January.
Next month I will clean the greenhouse properly. I’ll wash the glass, clear any moss and there are a few broken panes of glass that need attention.
Kale is the only veg still growing in the garden at the moment but that is coming to an end.
Gardening in November – Jobs
- Clear away old plants. It is time to clear plants past their best from the greenhouse and the vegetable beds. Everything goes in the compost bins apart from anything showing signs of mildew or other disease that could over-winter. Anything suspect goes in the council green waste bin where it will be heat treated to make compost.
- Take down plant supports. Old bean plants that have dried out but still clinging to the supports should be cleared and the plant supports taken down. It’s a good time to check what poles can be re-used. I trim them down if they rot at the bottom or split at the top so bean supports become shorter tomato supports. This year the bean supports included the sweetcorn that the borlotti beans grew through after my three sisters planting and first experiments with permaculture.. There is a wealth of information on the Permaculture Association website if you want to learn more about incorporating the principals into your life in a holistic way.
- Dig in manure and compost. We put compost, leave mould and rotted chicken manure on the top of the beds. A few years ago we stopped digging it in and left the worms, chickens and frosty weather to break down the soil. So far it has worked really well with a little light digging to prepare planting areas.
- Remove any fruit left on trees. This is a good time to spot any fruit you have missed on the trees. There is usually the odd apple or plum that has brown rot clinging high up. It is best to dispose of these fruits rather than put them in your compost bin. You can begin pruning fruit trees now they are dormant. This can continue through to the first months of the year before the growing season starts.
- Weed. This is a good time of year to attack pesky perennial weeds such as couch grass, ground elder and bindweed. The ground weed has almost got me defeated. I don’t use chemical controls. Nobody in the family seems keen on the idea of using it as a spinach substitute, and the chickens won’t eat it. Each year I fight a battle trying to keep it back from the growing areas. At least bindweed has pretty flowers!
Well, that is my gardening in November – what have you been doing?