November Gardening To-Do List

  • Transform leaves into beneficial compost. Shred your lawn leaves with your mulching mower. Decomposing leaves will be the best fertilizer for your lawn and gardens. Wet leaves that mat on the lawn will kill the grass underneath. 
  • Leave the leaves in the garden beds. One important exception are diseased leaves from plants that had leaf spot or other diseases. Remove these leaves from the garden to prevent furthur infection. Do not add to compost but put in trash bags in the garbage. For healthy leaves, you can create a leaf compost pile for future use. Please do not send theses leaves to the landfill. The county also has leaf and debris dump areas. Check out their website.
  • Many species of Lepidoptera caterpillars leave their larvae and eggs on the tree leaves of their host species in the fall months, so that when the insects emerge in spring they will still be near their host tree. Nature makes sense!
  • Move those tropicals indoors. Check them over carefully for insects who might thrive and multiply rapidly in your heated home. Remeber winter light is less intense and the indoor air is so much drier than your plants are used to. Do not overwater and expect some leaf drop as the plants adjust.
  • Plant Bulbs! Bulbs can be planted up until January or when the ground freezes. Plant 3x as deep as the bulb is wide. So if you bulb is 2" wide, plant it 6" below the soil level. It never hurts to sprinkle bone meal in the hole below the roots. Planting bulbs provides nectar for early pollinators as well.  Make it a family ritual involving all generations in the fun.
  • Continue to weed. Some weeds are full of seeds heads that are wind carried to spring up next year in another location. If you see seed heads and cannot get the weed pulled at least cut off the seed head.
  • Leave your perennial foliage to protect the crown of the plant and protect from rot.  Let the foliage die back naturally and try to wait until you see green at the crown of the plants to cut back old stems. The seed heads on your coneflowers may cheerfully disperse their beauty throughout your garden.
  • Protect your figs by wrapping with burlap or orther appropriate fabric after the leaves have dropped. Remove any fallen fruit to discourage mice from nesting and digging under a cherished plant. Remove fallen fruit from beneath your other fruit trees and shrubs.
  • Herbs: Freeze sprigs of rosemary. Herbs brought inside prefer cool sunny windows. Consider adding a grow lamp. 
  • Start Amarylls 6 weeks before desired bloom time. Paperwhites generally take about 4 weeks to bloom.