Gardening Jobs for November
November 21, 2023

It may be cold and there may be less growth happening but there’s no shortage of things to do in the garden this month. Right now you need to prep all areas of your garden for the winter, get certain seeds in the ground ready for the spring, and make the most of what your kitchen garden still has to offer, so you’ll find November garden jobs aplenty in our useful guide. 

What to Do in the Garden in November

From tending your beds, borders, trees and kitchen garden to caring for your houseplants, there’s lots to do. Read up on all the jobs for this month that’ll help keep your plants in top condition, both now and in the months to come. 

November Garden Jobs Top Tip: Give Houseplants Some TLC

Houseplants require a bit of extra attention as winter comes around the corner. Less exposure to light in the darker months tells the plants it’s time for winter dormancy, when their growth slows down. This rest allows them to burst back into life in the spring with lots of fresh new growth.

The majority of houseplants need an even temperature of above 10°C.

Keep them out of draughts and away from artificial heat sources – avoid placing them above radiators, for example.

When watering, let the soil almost dry out before giving them another drink. This will help to prevent rot. 

If they’re not already, place them on a windowsill or in a conservatory to give them extra light.

Wipe down dusty leaves as the dust will reduce the amount of light the plant can take in.

When night falls, move plants into the room from the windowsill as cold air can get trapped behind curtains. 

Keep an eye out for pests because a warm indoor environment provides the ideal opportunity for them to breed. 

Water less often and stand on trays of gravel or stones to increase humidity. 

Give the Birds Some Food

In the colder months, garden birds need all the energy they can get to see them through until the spring. Fill feeders with plenty of bird food and add fresh water to bird baths to give them a hand with food and drink.

Jobs for Beds and Borders

Stems of a lot of perennials can be left to add some visual appeal to your garden over winter. Some will be past their best: cut back phlox, alchemilla and anemone to near ground level. Hesperis, aconitum and dictamnus should be reduced to 15cm tall clumps.

Look out for annual weeds and remove them. It may soon be winter but they’ll still grow if conditions are mild. 

Give dry soil a boost by digging in leaf mould, which will help them to retain water. 

Loosely pile fallen leaves over the crowns of agapanthus and crinium to shield them from frost and cold. 

Leave most seeds heads on perennials if you like as they’ll add some character to your garden over the winter months. Cut back those that have faded or been blown over in the wind. 

Now is the time to get tulips in the ground. Plant them in a sunny spot at a depth between two and three times their size. Add a layer of horticultural grit in the bottom of each hole to prevent rot.

Tackle Trees and Shrubs

Most of the leaves of deciduous trees will have now fallen, providing the ideal opportunity to inspect the branches for coral spot. This fungal disease can be recognised by its raised orange spots. Remove any affected growth with pruners and prevent the disease spreading by either burning or binning the debris. 

Give newly planted hedges some protection if your garden is exposed. Surround them with windbreak material affixed to tree stakes and remove only when the plants are fully established in the spring. 

Protect wall shrubs in exposed areas if they’re not fully hardy, like callistemon, campsis and clianthus, with horticultural fleece if frost is forecast.

Tie in wayward branches of upright conifers with twine to prevent snow from damaging them or weighing down on them to breaking point. 

Tasks for the Kitchen Garden

Check stored apples and pears frequently, getting rid of any that are showing signs of rot. 

Check stored potatoes for blight. Throw away any that are soft, rotting or discoloured to prevent the disease spreading to the rest. 

Keep pigeons away from your cabbages, sprouts, kale and other brassicas by covering them with a sheet of plastic mesh held in place by bamboo canes.

Force chicory to make tender, blanched heads (chicons) for winter salads. Buy plants in pots and cut back growth to leave short stubs. Put a bucket over the top, block out light with stones and put in a frost-free spot like a garage or shed. In a few weeks, tender white chicons will have formed. Cut at the base and repeat.

Cut down canes of autumn fruiting raspberries to ground level.

Shore up spring cabbages by drawing up soil around them to steady the developing heads against wind rock.

Prune newly planted blackcurrant bushes by reducing all shoots to one bud from the base of plants.

To be rewarded with peas earlier next year, get seeds in the ground now in mild areas. Space varieties such as ‘Meteor’ or ‘Feltham First’ 7.5cm apart in the bottom of 22cm wide, 5cm deep flat-bottomed trenches. Give them some protection over the colder months by covering them with cloches

Sow seeds of ‘Aquadulce’, ‘The Sutton’ or ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ broad beans on sheltered, well-drained sites for picking in late spring and early summer. Plant seeds 5cm deep, 22cm apart, in rows.

Jobs for Gardening Undercover

Add some insulation to your greenhouse to keep plants nice and warm throughout the winter. Cut some greenhouse bubble wrapping into pieces and fix it into place with plastic clips that fit into the grooves between the glazing bars.

Get rid of dead, dying or diseased leaves as soon as you notice any.

Protect Vulnerable Plants

Protect exotic plants from frost. Wedge a handful of straw in the crown of tree ferns and protect the roots of trees and shrubs growing in pots by wrapping a sheet of hessian or bubble wrap around the container.

Additional November Garden Jobs

If you're planning any bonfires, check your pile of wood before burning to make sure no hibernating hedgehogs are tucked inside.

Wallflowers, daisies, myosotis, and other recently planted spring bedding plants may have become a little dislodged on very windy days. Secure them by firming into the soil with your hands. 

Disconnect your hose and store it away in your shed or garage to prevent water freezing inside and breaking the tube. 

Pot up rooted cuttings of pelargoniums, fuchsias and other tender perennials taken in the summer.

Too much moisture can cause alpines to rot, so provide protection for groups of them by making a shelter from two columns of bricks with a sheet of clear rigid plastic or plastic stretched over the top.

Remove slippery surfaces by giving them a scrub with a few drops of specialist cleaner, such as Jeyes Fluid Path, Patio and Drive Cleaner. If the area’s large, make the job quicker and much easier with a pressure washer.  

Cover the compost heap with a piece of old carpet or cardboard to keep some warmth in for the rotting process to continue. 

Clean your lawn mower before storing it away for the next few months. Lay it on its side and use a stiff brush to remove any caked-on dirt and grass. Wash off stubborn areas of mud with a bucket of soapy water.

 

Once you’ve completed all these November garden jobs, your slice of Eden will be well prepped for productivity and appearance, not to mention your feathered friends being well catered for. It’s certainly not a short list of tasks so you’ll be kept very busy until next month. Feel free to pop back then to find out everything you should be doing in the garden in December.