Mantis’s November gardening calendar details all that you can expect to see in your garden going into early winter, and what you can do to protect your plants from the cold weather. The autumn months of September and October can be particularly challenging for gardeners, so we would recommend that you take a look at our previous monthly gardening guides. November’s gardening guide contains advice on how to care for your lawn, as well as how use waste materials from the autumn fall to enhance your garden. Find out more below.
Lawn Care in November
Keep raking the leaves – If left on the surface of your lawn, leaves will damage the grass. Keep raking them up and throwing them into your composter to recycle your otherwise harmful garden waste. The Mantis ComposTumbler can still be used through the winter months if brought inside as it uses the ‘hot composting’ method.
Last chance to prepare your lawn for winter – If you didn’t get your dethatching and aerating done in October, try to get it done in early November before the temperature drops and the grass stops growing.
Worm cast control – Worm cast start to appear in the early autumn up until mid-spring. They are the excretions of earthworms and can look unsightly on a manicured lawn and can also encourage moss and other lawn weeds in areas where they have been trodden in or spread around. The only way to treat your lawn for this is to lower the acidity of the soil with sulphur based products, which can be sources from garden centres (always follow the manufacturers instructions).
Watch out for waterlogging – During periods of high rainfall, areas of your lawn may pool water. This shouldn’t happen if you have regularly dethatched and aerated your lawn in the summer months. If your lawn does become flooded, you can either sweep it off the grass into the flowerbeds or, wait until it has drained away and then aerate it using your rake attachment for your Mantis tiller, or you can pierce the grass with a fork to improve the drainage and prevent it from happening again.
Watch out for mould on your lawn – This can include lichens, algae and liverwort. These appear on the grass as either a bluey-green slimy substance (algae) or have a brown/green leafy appearance in the case of lichens and liverwort. It occurs in wet conditions, particularly in darker shaded areas of your lawn, such as under a tree or beneath bushes. It can be controlled by regular scarifying and aerating to improve the drainage as poor drainage is usually the cause.
Repair your lawn – It’s too late to seed now so if you still have areas of the lawn that need repairing or somewhere you want to lay a new lawn, you can still use turf and it will not require watering, mowing or fertilizing until the spring. This should ensure your lawn is established in time for summer. However, try to avoid walking on it, which shouldn’t be too much of a hardship during the winter months.
Garden Care in November
Take care of dahlias – They will be in their final throws now and should be placed in a greenhouse as soon as their leaves are blackened by the first frost. You can dig them up and place them in a compost bag or in wooden trays and then cover in compost before storage. In the southern regions of the country where the temperature is a little less severe, you may get away with leaving them in the ground if you cover the soil around them with bark to keep them safe until spring.
Plant some winter colour – This is the last chance for you to ensure there is colour in your garden for the winter months so get planting wallflowers, primula and bellis now to maintain the flourish of your outdoor space.
Remember to deadhead – Keep your container plants and hanging baskets looking fresh by continuing to remove faded blooms. There is no need to water them so often now – you run the risk of over watering if you’re not careful. It is best to keep a check on them and water only as and when they need it. It would be a good idea to raise containers and pots off the ground around this time, to prevent them from becoming waterlogged if there is excessive rainfall.
Plant bare-rooted trees and roses – Now is the time to get your bare-rooted, container-grown trees and roses into the ground. This gives them the winter season to develop roots before the spring growing season begins and so providing them with a good start in their new location.
Give the beds a dig over – If the soil isn’t too wet, turn it over now with your Mantis Tiller to help break it down and make it much easier to work and prepare next season. However, don’t work it when waterlogged as this will do more harm than good.
Check trellis – Now that the climbing plants have shed most of their leaves, you will be able to get a good look at your trellis and inspect it for damage or wear and tear. You can then fix it whilst not running the risk of damaging the plants themselves.
Overwinter your strawberries – Lift your strawberry plants and plant in containers or hanging baskets. Allow the re-potted plants to weather during cold spells and then move them to a sheltered greenhouse. They will then start to show spring growth and should flower and bear fruit earlier than they would normally.
Tulip time – November is the best month for planting tulip bulbs as it reduced the risk of problems with tulip fire. Tulip fire a fungus that emerges as brown patches on leaves and flowers that can develop into a fuzzy white mould in wet conditions and also you may see little black dots (sclerotia), which contaminate the soil. There is no chemical treatment for this fungus but avoid planting tulips in an area where it has occurred for at least three years. Always check bulbs for traces of the little black sclerotia when choosing your bulbs before planting, and discard any that you find.
Fruit & Veg Care in November
Time to prune – Once the leaves start falling from your fruit trees, you can start pruning to thin out congested areas and leave room for growth once spring arrives. Start with the weak or damaged shoots and work inwards aiming for an open goblet shape. Pruning at this time of year ensures the tree has a good chance of producing lots of lovely fruit in the proceeding summer.
Harvest your crops – You should be lifting your main crop carrots now, along with leeks, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, swedes, turnips and spinach.
Plant some broad beans – Plants sown now will overwinter and produce crops in the spring.
What to plant in November – There isn’t much that you can plant now that will survive the winter, although you can plant garlic at practically anytime and it will succeed. Garlic will probably do better in containers now though, as the soil can be very wet during the winter and that will hinder growth. However, if you really want to plant it directly in the ground, drop a little sand or gravel into the bottom of the holes when planting as this can assist drainage enough for it to grow.
Winter clear out – This is the time of year to clean out your beds and get some manure down and dug in ready for the next growing season. It is also a good time to add some lime if your soil is very acidic (it is always best to get this checked out by sending a sample to a professional body such as the RHS soil analysis service or you can get a home test from the garden centre although this will not be as accurate), to increase the pH, although don’t add lime at the same time as manure, leave it for around two weeks before putting lime down over manure.
Other Gardening Activities in November
Stop feeding your pond plants – In order to give your pond plants a break from growing, stop feeding them now. They will go dormant as the days shorten and the temperature drops, which will do them no harm.
Keep removing plant debris and falling leaves – If you haven’t covered your pond yet to prevent leaves falling into it, do it now. Alternatively, you will need to keep clearing away debris and removing dead foliage, as decomposing vegetation releases toxic gas that is harmful to fish.
Collect fallen leaves for mulch – You can use the debris you collect from your pond and around the garden for mulch. Place the leaves in a plastic bag or compost bin and leave it to break down. This can take a year to two depending on what you are using but a way to speed it up is to shred the leaves before bagging them up or putting them in your compost bin.
Prevent ponds from freezing – You can do this cheaply by simply putting a couple of footballs on the surface so that at least a part of the pond won’t freeze. You can get floating de-icers or pond heaters from the garden centre, which is advisable if you have koi carp or other tropical fish in your pond as very cold temperatures can be harmful to them.
Clean your greenhouse – If you haven’t already done this, wash the glass to remove dirt and any shading paint that you have applied during the summer months. Use a horticultural disinfectant to get rid of any pests or diseases that may be present.
Insulate your greenhouse – If you are still growing in your greenhouse, insulate it with bubble wrap as advised in the October garden calendar. Also, consider fitting a light, ideally an environmentally friendly one such as a solar light so that you can still check on them in the dark evenings.
Clean your tools – Give your hand tools a good clean now, ready for the next season. Painting on a coat of linseed oil will prevent them from rusting whilst in the damp atmosphere of your potting shed. Also, consider getting your garden machinery such as your Mantis Tiller serviced now in readiness for next year. Mantis will service your Tiller for a reasonable rate. See our main website for details of the number to call for this service.
Although November isn’t at all a traditionally forgiving month for gardens, it is very important to prepare your outdoor haven for the winter ahead. The benefits of putting extra work in now far outweigh the benefits of making up for lost time in the spring months, so consider your November gardening just as important, if not more so, than that of your April routine! If you have any questions regarding our products which may make your November gardening more effective, or would like additional information to supplement this November gardening guide: contact the Mantis team here.