November is a good time to prepare your garden for winter. It’s also a great time to assess the layout of your yard and determine where improvements can be made.
For those who still have their gardens going, November is a wonderful month to plant cool-season flowers and vegetables like arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collards, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, mesclun mix, parsley, peas, spinach, and turnips from seeds or transplants.
If you want to grow new flowers or vegetables this November, you’ll need to know your planting zones. The USDA hardiness zone map is a key tool for determining what plants are most likely to thrive in a particular region.
Planting zones are based on the minimum winter temperature in a particular area. They are not an exact science, however.
The USDA has produced a hardiness zone map that most gardeners rely on, and many national garden magazines, catalogs, and nurseries use. The map is based on the extreme minimum winter temperature in an area, but there are many other factors that determine what plants can survive in a specific region.
Natural Resources Canada (NRC) produces a different hardiness zone map that considers a wider range of climatic conditions than the USDA, including maximum temperatures and the length of the frost-free period. This allows Canadians to use the USDA zone maps more confidently.
November is a time to gather nutrient-packed greens, winter root vegetables and immune-boosting herbs. As well as sowing winter crops, such as kale and chard, you can also begin growing cold-tolerant vegetables for harvest in the spring.
Planting in the cooler months of fall is the best way to ensure a bountiful harvest. Beans are a great autumn-starting crop, as they are hardy enough to overwinter in many areas.
Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are good for planting now as they are able to grow in the cooler temperatures. Alternatively, plant leafy greens such as chard and spinach in containers to enjoy during the winter.
Another great vegetable to plant in the autumn is celeriac. Its nutty flavour and distinctive texture make it a tasty addition to many dishes.
Perennials need to be well cared for in order to remain healthy and perform properly. Taking good care of them will help them stay greener, longer and more colorful in the garden.
Perennial care also involves ensuring that they receive adequate amounts of nutrients. This can be done by mulching perennial beds with compost or bark mulches each year.
A little fertilizer is sometimes needed in the spring to encourage new growth and flowers on some perennials, especially those that have been pruned back or are suffering from pest or disease problems.
In addition, some perennials benefit from being divided in the fall when the flowers have dropped. This can rejuvenate the clump and may help prevent certain foliar diseases such as powdery mildew from invading.
Perennials should be planted in late fall through early to mid-spring, allowing them 6-8 weeks of root development before the heat of summer brings growth to a stop. Planting in these cooler months allows plants to establish their roots before the hot summer weather, and ensures that they do not freeze in the fall.
Composting is a way to return nutrients back to your soil. It invigorates the soil food web by providing the bacteria, fungi, nematodes and insects needed to help your plants thrive.
Whether you have a compost bin, tumbler or pile, the right mix of brown and green materials is key to successful composting. Leaves, grass clippings, shredded paper, peat moss and hay are high carbon ingredients that need to be mixed with nitrogen-rich green plant materials such as spent coffee grounds, eggshells and vegetable peelings.
Adding insulation to your compost pile or bin can help keep the temperature warm enough for the microorganisms to work their magic. A simple covering of cardboard, straw or brown leaves can work wonders.