Maritime Northwest Victory Gardener’s Almanack for the month of November

Mike Dunton’s Maritime Northwest Edition Victory Gardener’s Almanack for the month of November

By November, it is usually too wet, cold and dark to get much production out of your yards and gardens. Ideally your growing areas are cleaned of debris and either cover cropped or heavily mulched. With all of the outdoor tasks accomplished, it frees you up to enjoy the holiday season and to begin thinking about next year’s garden.

In the Vegetable Garden

• The flavor of parsnips improves when left in the cold ground. (Refer to October’s tasks.)
• Ideally, your garden spaces have already been cleaned and cover crops sown. If not, remove any remaining garden refuse and add to the compost pile. Corn stalks are too woody and will not break down over winter unless you chop them up into smaller pieces. Optionally, you can burn or bury them, or if you have access to a large tiller, they can be incorporated directly into the soil to decompose over the winter months.
• If you have not sown a cover crop, tilling one last time helps to churn up hibernating insects to perish or be eaten by birds and animals.
• If you ran out of time and have barren ground where you didn’t get cover crops sown, you can cover the area with six to eight inches of leaves and lawn clippings to “compost in place” over the winter. It will feed the soil, feed the worms, and to help prevent erosion and weed growth. In the spring, simply till in or rake up and add to your compost pile.
• Strawberry beds should be cleaned and then covered with seed free litter such as straw, pine needles, or peat moss.

In the Yard and Orchard

• Finish planting spring blooming tulips in locations with well drained soil. Planting bulbs at varying depths from three to six inches will extend the blooming season.
• Rose bushes can be planted now. Follow the instructions provided by the supplier.
• Prune established roses, clearing away all dead material, and hill soil or mulch to protect them.
• There is still time this month to plant deciduous trees and shrubs. Do not move or plant evergreen trees.
• Now that the mowing season is over, if you don’t use an electric or manual mower, drain the gas tank, and run it dry so that no fuel remains in the carburetor. Clean the underside of the mower deck and sharpen or replace blades. You will be glad that you did in the spring.
• If you have not already done so, it is time to store all of your outdoor furniture.
• Throughout the rainy season, or during snow melts, dig small ditches as required to keep water drained away from your hibernating perennials that you marked last month.

Mike Dunton is the founder of the Victory Seed Company and one of the early signers of the Safe Seed Pledge. The Victory Seed Company works to preserve rare, threatened, heirloom seeds and to make them available to home gardeners. 

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