This past October was characterized by unseasonable summer heat that, at times, seemed never ending. A few chilly mornings and brisk evenings inevitably gave way to days where an ice bath sounded like the pinnacle of refreshment. Now, it looks like fall has finally arrived: the leaves are swiftly falling, I’m breaking out my winter coat, and my summer plants are dusted with frost most every morning. Indeed, the time for summer gardening has ended—replaced by fall harvests and early-winter prep. November is the perfect time for this transition—temperatures are mild and sunlight is still readily available. It’s best to get out early and do your cool-season gardening chores before early sunsets and frigid weather resign you to binge-watching the new season of Stranger Things on your couch.
November Gardening Checklist
Clean Up Dead Growth and Debris
Now that trees are shedding leaves, you can thoroughly inspect branches for death and disease. Diseased branches should be removed and thrown away so as to avoid overwintering of pests.
Your garden also needs to be cleaned up. Pull up remaining vegetables and annuals (remembering to toss those rotting pumpkins!) to make way for next year’s harvest.
Plant Cold Tolerant Annuals in Flower Pots
In the South, cold tolerant annuals can still be enjoyed well into the cool weather. Fill your pots with plants like pansies, snap dragons, and sweet alyssum for an extra kick of color
Drain Hoses and Winterize Water Features
Though a deep freeze is unlikely, you’re better safe than sorely sorry when it comes to irrigation systems, ponds, pools, and even water hoses. Frozen water can crack or rupture pipes, causing hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs. Take your hoses in and winterize your water features independently or with the help of a professional.
Put Down Deer Repellent
Deer are voracious this time of year. Whether you’re using deer pellets, pepper spray, or old-fashioned fencing to keep them away, it’s vital to do something. Your garden will look like a thanksgiving feast without added protection.
Nobody likes to carry food scraps outdoors multiple times a day throughout the winter. Instead, considering investing in an airtight metal bin and saving kitchen scraps for a week at a time. That way, you’ll only have to brave the cold once a week, and you’ll keep up with your composting goals. Tip: all those dead leaves and plant scraps can be added to you bin for extra compost goodness!
Buy Next Year’s Gardening Essentials
Seeds, gear, and tools are cheaper now than they will be come March. Stockpile them early so you can jump into spring gardening without reserve.