November Gardening Chores

1. Not the highest item on my November gardening chores list but one I am looking forward to doing, which is getting my gardening books organized all in one place in my renovated basement library. Even though it’s easy to assume all books are available online, that’s not true, especially the more scholarly horticultural books.

Other chores for this month include:

2. Settling potted plants into windows that will give them the light conditions they need. Some potted herbs in particular need good sunlight over winter.

3. Check the last of the garden center plant sales and bury the plants still in their pots into the ground. Make sure to water and mulch so they will successfully pull through winter.

4. Dry leaves make good flowerbed mulch. Add a layer of aged mulch on top of leaves to develop a good protective layer.

5. It’s been very dry so remember to water. An inch a week is a good measure, especially for woody plants, such as azaleas and evergreens. When watering, check for damaged branches and remove. Once winter ice moves in, the ice will cause more damage than necessary on those weak and damaged limbs. I take pruners with me so I can also trim out suckers and branches that are too long, especially along where I regularly walk. No point in putting that off until later when the ground is covered in ice and snow.

6. Empty most of your composters on asparagus and strawberry beds. This year I will also feed my new raspberry and blueberry beds.

7. If you have newly-planted roses, mound 6 inches of soil around rose crowns and add a layer of dry leaves covered in mulch for extra insulation.

8. If you haven’t saved seeds for next year, split the difference with your local birds and collect half of your seed supply to dry. The other half will give birds a nice winter treat.

9. You should be on the downside of the mowing season. Make the last cut when you see grass has stopped growing. Let clippings lie where they’ve been cut to restore Nitrogen to the soil. Have fun mowing over the leaves to shred and move them to flower beds.

10. Did you pull a poinsettia through the year from last Christmas? I have two. They are now sitting in a room that doesn’t get evening light hoping the bracts will turn color in time for this holiday.

11. Which reminds me, if you want your Christmas cactus to bloom next month, this is a good time to place it with your poinsettia. Mine started blooming in September because they are temporarily staying in my dining room as we finish the basement work. I’m good with the splashes of color any time of the year.

12. Update your garden diary with what worked well and what you want to try next year. I have found it’s easier to do it now than to try to remember details mid-January.

Charlotte Ekker Wiggins is a beekeeper, gardener and sometimes cook. Published by El Dorado Springs Sun once in print and online with author’s permission. Copyright 2017, all rights reserved. This column may not be reprinted, republished or otherwise distributed without author’s permission. Contact Charlotte at gardeningcharlotte at gmail dot com.

ROSEMARY IN WINTER – Fresh herbs are a treat in winter. This rosemary plant spent part of this year outside, then moved inside prior to the first predicted frost. Rosemary is wonderful in homemade soups. (Photos by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins).