When the days are short and it’s cold outside, it can feel as though there’s no life left in the garden. But in fact now’s the best time for many gardening jobs, so wrap up warm, grab your gloves and get on out there.
Even in November, you can still plant things and sow seeds. Get a head start on next summer’s flowers by sowing sweet peas in pots in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Soak the seeds in water overnight before sowing to improve their germination rate.
There’s still time to plant spring bulbs – in fact, November’s the ideal month for planting tulips. And don’t forget to fill a few pots with heathers, violas, cyclamens and ivy for gorgeous winter colour.
In the vegetable garden, there’s plenty to do. In mild areas, you can direct sow broad beans outdoors for an early crop next May. Broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is an excellent choice for overwintering. Protect your bean seeds from mice with netting pegged down over the soil, or spread a thick layer of prickly holly leaves over them. Plant overwintering onions and garlic, and plant out spring cabbage seedlings.
November’s also a good time to plant soft fruit, like gooseberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and currants.
Cold wet winters can be disastrous for many plants, especially those from warmer climates. A thick layer of mulch on beds will help protect plants against winter wet, as well as improving the soil over time.
Wrap pots in hessian or bubble wrap to insulate them against frosts, and raise them up on pot feet to improve drainage.
And don’t forget your garden wildlife. Birds need all the help they can get in winter, so put up a bird feeder and fill it regularly with high-energy foods like sunflower seeds or suet balls. If you have a birdbath, keep it filled and free of ice so that birds can keep their feathers clean, which helps them to stay warm through icy weather.
For more gardening inspiration, come and visit our local garden centre, where our friendly staff are always happy to help and advise.