Alicia DeVore

When the weather starts to change and cool temperatures kick in, it’s time to spend a few minutes in your garden doing the tasks described in this month’s 10 minutes tasks so that you can get ready for winter: 5 top gardening tips for November.

Top 5 Things to do in November Veggie Garden

  1. Protect Cool Season Crops

  2. Plant Garlic, Cover Crops, and Flowering Bulbs

  3. Keep Harvesting

  4. Clean up Plant Debris

  5. Check the Watering

Let’s break these down in greater detail for you November garden tasks.

5 top tips for growing in november with someone watering in background

ONE: Protect your Cool Season Crops

Thriving in the chillier months, cool season garden plants such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale, however, are not exempted from the need for protection against harsh conditions. With just 10 minutes a few days each month, you can effectively safeguard your cool season plants from light frost in late fall to colder months in gardens.

Start by investing in frost blankets; these lightweight covers serve as buffers against frost and freezing temperatures. On cold nights, all you need to do is drape them over your plants and secure them with garden stakes or rocks. Check out this article for more tips on gardening in winter.

When temperatures plummet below freezing and snow comes into play, it’s crucial to switch from plant cloths to more protective materials like plastic.

For cool season crops, consider covering the beds with hoops paired with plant cloth or plastic or in colder regions use a cold frame. This creates a miniature greenhouse effect when temperatures fall below 45 degrees. Give particular attention to providing this level of protection to your cool season plants not only ensures their survival but also enables your garden to continue growing and producing throughout the entirety of the fall and winter months.

plant cloth over hoops in a garden

Products to Help Protect:

Hoops

Plant Cloth

TWO: November Planting

Depending on where you live, use the average high and low temperatures for your area to plant in November.

What Can You Plant in Garden November

Plant Garlic

Planting garlic is one of my favorite things to grow because garlic just doesn’t need much from me. It will grow in the cold with little protection needed from the harsh weather, doesn’t need much attention or water and produces one of my favorite things to cook with.

Depending on your temperatures, you can plant garlic in October or November in the Northern Hemisphere. When living in climates that do not get a frost, then planting garlic successfully can be difficult since garlic likes the cold to grow. Check out different varieties that might work in your garden.

Planting your garlic about a month before the first frost allows the root system of the plant to develop roots before winter sets in. Garlic has more allicin, a compound that makes garlic so healthy, along with plenty of other herbs with antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-fungal properties.

To plant garlic effectively, all you need is a few minutes each day. Start by choosing a sunny spot and preparing the fertile soil by removing weeds and adding compost or organic matter. Then, separate the garlic bulbs into individual cloves, making sure not to damage them. Plant the cloves about 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart, with the pointed end facing upwards. Water the cloves after planting and then once a week until the ground freezes.

This past week, I was able to plant out over 100 garlic bulbs in less than 20 minutes. These will be ready to harvest in June in my area. The effort literally is just a few minutes for great production.

Maintain Cover Crops

Cover crops also have their benefits. They improve soil health, prevent erosion, suppress weeds, and can even enhance the habitat for beneficial insects. Moreover, because they grow throughout the winter, they keep your garden in production year-round.

For cover crops, start by selecting seeds of the right species for your soil and climate. Spread the seeds evenly over your garden bed and lightly rake them in. Water immediately after planting and keep the soil moist until the seed crop has germinated. Once established, cover crops require little maintenance.

The cover crop will be ready to chop down in early spring and will provide amazing protection and nutrients to your future garden produce. I like to order a cover crop that is made for the garden. Make sure to chop down the cover crop before flowers begin drying out on the plants so that it will not return and take over the spaces that you have a garden growing in the spring or summer.

bulbs getting planted around a tree

Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs

Planting spring-flowering bulbs in winter is an excellent gardening practice that allows you to enjoy colorful and vibrant blooms next spring. Find varieties that come up at different times of the year so that you can always enjoy blooms that you plant in November once and don’t worry about again. Local nurseries will have many varieties of bulbs to plant.

Planting in full sun and in winter gives the bulbs ample time to establish themselves before the ground freezes. This early establishment helps the bulbs withstand the harsh winter conditions and allows them to bloom beautifully come spring in well prepared soil.

The timing for planting bulbs varies with climate. In colder northern regions, it’s best to plant spring flowering bulbs in September or October. However, in warmer climates, you may need to plant bulbs in December or even later. One more tip is not to plant bare root roses in the fall. You will have more success in the spring.

If you’ve fallen behind your gardening schedule, there’s no need to worry. While fall is indeed the ideal time for planting spring flower bulbs, you can still plant them in winter for them to have a dormant period to grow.

THREE: Harvest to Get More

The space for your garden is ready to use all year long, not just in the summer months. As the temperatures get cooler, it can be easy to forget that the garden is still producing vegetables for you that you started from vegetable seeds or seedlings a few weeks before. Use these tips to help you harvest for just a few minutes a week to keep your garden growing.

Harvesting Cool Weather Veggies in November

Harvesting 1/3 of lettuce and other greens during the cool months is a smart gardening strategy that can lead to more productive plants throughout the season. This method is often referred to as “cut and come again” or “succession harvesting,” and it’s particularly effective for leafy green vegetables like lettuce, spinach, chard, and arugula.

One of the primary benefits of this method is that it encourages the plant to continue growing and producing new leaves and root growth even when growth is going on a slower pace. By only harvesting a portion of the plant, you leave enough foliage to allow photosynthesis to continue, which fuels further growth.

Lettuce and other leafy greens are cool-season plants, meaning they thrive best in the cooler weather of spring and fall. During these seasons, the plants grow vigorously and can readily replace harvested leaves. Harvesting a portion of salad leaves from the plant also helps to manage the plant’s size, preventing it from becoming too large and potentially bolting, or going to seed.

When harvesting, it’s best to pick the outer, older leaves first and allow the inner, younger leaves to continue growing. This ensures the plant remains healthy and vibrant, capable of producing more leaves for future harvests.

greens on a counter

FOUR: Maintenance and Cleanup

Maintaining a clean and organized garden is crucial in preventing the spread of diseases and keeping harmful insects insect pests at bay. Spending just a few minutes each day tidying up your garden can significantly contribute to its future health and productivity.

wheelbarrel with tools for garden
  1. Remove Plant Debris: Regularly collect and dispose of fallen leaves, rotten fruits, and other plant debris. These materials can harbor pests and diseases that may carry over to the next growing season. A quick sweep through your garden every day to pick up any noticeable debris can go a long way in maintaining cleanliness.

  2. Prune Damaged Limbs: Prune any diseased, damaged, or dead branches from shrubs and fruit trees. This simple task prevents the spread of disease and pest infestations. Remember to disinfect your pruning tools before moving to the next plant to avoid inadvertently spreading pathogens.

  3. Weed Regularly: Weeds not only compete with your plants for nutrients and water but can also host several pests and diseases. By pulling out weeds as soon as you spot them, you can maintain a healthier garden environment.

FIVE: Check Watering in Cold Weather

yellow watering can with cool season crops

Maintaining an optimal level of water in your vegetable garden, especially during the cold months and cold temperatures, is critical for the health and productivity of your cool-season plants. Adequate watering is not only essential for the overall growth of the plants but also plays a significant role in protecting them against harsh weather conditions.

Water acts as a thermal buffer, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it slowly during the night. This process helps to moderate soil temperatures and protect plant roots from freezing. In anticipation of a frost or freeze event, maintaining good soil moisture can be incredibly beneficial. The water in the soil retains heat longer and releases it slowly, providing some level of protection to the soil structure and plants root growth.

However, it’s important to note that while watering is crucial, over-watering can be just as harmful as under-watering, particularly in colder weather. Overly saturated soils can lead to root rot and other diseases, especially in cooler temperatures when evaporation rates are lower. Therefore, it’s vital to strike a balance and ensure the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.

little girl watering with orange can

With just a few minutes, you can check and manage water levels in your vegetable garden during the cold weather. Not only does it support the basic life functions of the plants, but it also serves as a protective measure against the damaging effects of frost and freezing temperatures.

Plant in November

  1. Garlic

  2. Cover Crops

  3. Spring Bulbs

What are November Garden Maintenance

  1. Lettuce and Greens

  2. Trim off old flower heads

  3. Trim dead branches off of fruit trees

Gardening Tools to Use for November:

Gardening in November requires a specific set of gardening tools to help you prepare your garden for the winter months and the next growing season. Here’s a list of essential gardening tools you might need:

  1. Garden Rake: Useful for clearing fallen leaves and other debris from your garden. It can also be used to spread compost or mulch.

  2. Leaf Blower: If you have a large garden with many trees, a leaf blower can make the task of gathering leaves much quicker and easier.

  3. Pruning Shears: Essential for pruning back perennials, shrubs, and trees to keep them healthy and promote growth in the spring.

  4. Spade/Shovel: Necessary for digging holes for new plants or bulbs, and for moving soil or compost.

  5. Wheelbarrow: Handy for moving compost, mulch, or garden waste around your garden.

  6. Garden Knife or Dibber: These are perfect for planting bulbs, which is a common task in November.

  7. Gardening Gloves: Protect your hands from thorns, sharp tools, and harsh weather conditions.

  8. Watering Can or Garden Hose: Even in November, it’s important to ensure your plants get enough water, especially newly planted trees or shrubs.

  9. Compost Bin or Tumbler: November is a great time to start a compost pile with all the leaves and garden waste you’ll be cleaning up.

Remember, taking care of your gardening tools is just as important as using them. Clean and store them properly after each use to keep them in good working condition for many gardening seasons to come.

Dive Deeper into More Understanding:

If you missed the 10-minute tasks for October, get them HERE.

Find out more about growing powerful leafy greens HERE.

Read this blog post for more on growing lettuce during the cool months HERE.

And check out this mini-course to plan on what to grow in cool seasoned months HERE.

Read about more tips for growing in winter HERE and HERE.

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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