November Garden – Tidy, Protect and Maintain
November is your last chance to prepare your soil before winter sets in. Soil can easily be damaged; make sure you dig up any unwanted plants and turn over your soil while it still contains some summer heat. Protect any bare patches of soil with mulch, compost, leaf mould or even plastic sheeting. This will make the soil easy to plant or sow into next spring.
Perennials should be divided and pruned to soil level now to ensure they return next spring as healthy as ever. Work from the middle outwards, pruning back quite harshly, especially if the plants are looking over-crowded. All annuals should have been removed, as they have nothing else to offer, replace these with winter bedding plants to keep the colour in your garden this winter.
Leaves are a commodity to any garden, perfect for adding to both mulch and compost once your leaf pile has transformed into mould. Firstly, separate your leaves and keep them in a garden container, bag or create a heap in a quiet corner of your garden. The bacteria that breaks the leaves down to mould needs oxygen to work, so make sure you puncture any bags you collect your leaves in.
Raise any patio containers by adding bricks or feet underneath, this will protect your plants and soil from becoming waterlogged during winter showers. If you are expecting an especially harsh winter, it’s best to insulate any outside plant containers with bubble wrap to protect them from frost.
November is the perfect time to make bonfires. Where allowed, create bonfires out of any garden waste that can’t be added to compost. Check around your garden for any sign of plant disease, a bonfire is the perfect way to dispose of any infected plant parts and reduce chances of the disease spreading.
Don’t become complacent if you’ve been fortunate enough to have mild weather so far; it only takes one night of frost to damage or even kill off most garden plants. Move them into a sheltered, well insulated place such as a green house or conservatory to make sure they survive this winter. If you don’t have room to keep your plants indoors make sure you cover anything vulnerable to the weather with plastic sheeting or garden fleece.
If you’re keen to keep wildlife rife in your garden this winter, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage insects, birds and other creatures to roam around. Keep up your bird feed and fresh water this winter, it’ll encourage birds in the coming months, and you’ll see a whole new flock next spring. As you tidy your garden, you’ll find that you uncover many pests hiding beneath plants. Encouraging hungry birds into your garden can ensure slugs and snails are a thing of the past.