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Get ready for the last of fall in the garden. We are in zone 7 so there are still a few things we can be doing or preparing for the rest of November. Be sure to protect your crops before a hard freeze. Crops such as lettuce, spinach, chives, and parsley will need to be covered if you’re expecting them to be able to survive a freeze.
Some of the best performers in Zone 7 winters are arugulas, beets, swiss chard, mustard, cauliflower, radishes, spinach, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, peas, turnips, and varieties of lettuces. When shopping for seeds, keep a keen eye out for varieties that boast cold hardiness and have shorter maturing periods.
Prepping for spring
I love getting my garden beds ready for spring planting now, in the late fall. Fall is a great time to dig and prep your beds for spring planting. If you take care of all those major tasks now then all the beds will need in the spring is a quick raking with a heavy rake to break up the top surface of the soil. Then you are ready extra early to get your spring plants in.
If you use a tiller, fall is a great time to get out and till your beds. Have you been thinking about double digging your beds? Again fall is a great time. If you trench compost in your garden, November is a great time to dig a trench and fill it with compostable materials that can then rot all winter.
One thing to keep in mind, many of us have a lot of rain in November. If your soil is wet then DON’T work it. Digging, tilling or even heavy raking of wet soil can destroy your soil composition and ruin your soil for years to come!
It’s been a long and productive summer in your garden. I get it, you worked hard all summer and the next of the November garden tasks can be tempting to put off. But you need to get out and do a final clean up of your garden. Pull out all the dead vegetables, rake up the leaves and clean up those perennial beds.
Leaving your garden full of debris and dead plants can be a real problem.
I hear people all the time say they leave their dead plants in the garden as a habitat for birds and other critters in the winter. But there is a problem with that. Along with the birds, garden debris is also a great cover for many garden pests, slugs, snails, grasshoppers, and even aphids will take cover for the winter in the debris scattered around your garden. When spring arrives they will emerge, hungry and ready to reproduce!
It’s a far better practice to keep your garden clean and junk-free over the winter months. If you are concerned about the birds then build a few birdhouses and feeders for your yard.
Prune and trim berry plants and other trees
November is a great time to prune many of your perennial berry bushes. Remove this years producing canes from plants like Blackberries and Raspberries. In fact, depending on the variety of raspberry you may be able to cut the plants completely down.
Also, go through your strawberry patch and remove weak and spent plants, clean up debris and then cover your strawberry beds with either a heavy fabric row cover or with some type of organic mulch (like straw or leaves). This November garden tasks will make for a much quicker start to your patch in the spring along with a much higher survival rate for the plants over the winter.
And don’t forget your ornamental trees and shrubs. Fall is NOT the right time to prune them heavily. But you should go around your yard and look for weak or damaged branches that may be torn off the tree by a hard freeze or snow. It is better for you to cut them off now than to have them break and tear off over the winter. Also, look for branches that may rub against your house or roof during winter storms. You would be amazed at the damage a small branch, rubbing all winter against your roof can do!
Another of the November garden tasks related to both ornamental and fruit trees is to prevent winter sunscald. If you have trees that are susceptible to winter trunk damage then you should wrap those trunks in November with a white tree wrap to protect them.
Prep now, relax later
The sooner you finish up the November garden tasks, the earlier you can settle in for a long winters break! It’s time to find a few good gardening books to read. Even better how about a few gardening video courses to watch and learn from over the winter.
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