In the Vegetable Garden-November
With the arrival of November, the 2018 vegetable growing season is finally coming to an end. Here in central Virginia the summer gardening season may be remembered as the 2018 rainy season. How rainy you ask? According to ACCU Weather, Inc., the normal year-to-date (Jan.-Oct) rainfall in our area is 40.67 inches. Our actual amount through October was 50.16 inches or 20 percent above our normal rainfall. Rain is a good thing for plants but too much can be detrimental to the garden, resulting in fungal outbreaks. I had my fair share of fungus problems this season plus stunted plants caused by the lack of oxygen in waterlogged soil. Fortunately, one of the great things about gardening is that there is always a next year and that reset button is only a few months away.
November in the vegetable garden is a clean-up month, and also a time to reflect back on the growing season as to what varieties performed well and what varieties performed below our expectations. Don’t forget to make year-end notes in your garden journal; this information can be very valuable when planning for the 2019 growing season. We will soon be reminded of the upcoming 2019 growing season because in December we will start to receive the 2019 seed catalogs — chock-full of pristine and unblemished photos and exciting new vegetable offerings.
Here’s my to-do list for November:
- Root crops such as carrots, radishes, turnips and parsnips store well outdoors in the ground. Just before the ground freezes, bury these crops under a deep layer of leaves or straw. Harvest as needed during the winter months.
- Keep mulches pulled back several inches from the base of fruit trees to prevent bark injury from hungry mice and rodents.
- Fallen, spoiled or mummified fruits should be cleaned up and destroyed by burying or placing them in the trash. Good sanitation practices reduce re-infestation of insects and diseases in the following seasons.
- Mulch strawberries with straw or leaves. This should be done after several nights near 20ºF but before the temperature drops into the teens. Apply the straw or leaves loosely but thickly enough to hide plants from view.
- Now is a good time to collect soil samples to test for pH and nutrient levels. A free soil testing kit is available at your local Extension Office. The Charlottesville-Albemarle Extension Office is located in the County Office Building on 5th Street Extension, 460 Stagecoach Road, Charlottesville. Tel. (434) 872-4580.
- Don’t forget the garden hoses: drain and roll up and store on a warm sunny day. It’s difficult to wind a cold water hose into a tight coil. Also, be sure to shut off and drain any outdoor water pipes and irrigation systems that may freeze during the cold weather.
- Rhubarb plants that are four years old or more can be divided and transplanted. Prepare the site by digging deeply and incorporating compost. Your efforts should be rewarded with a good yield in upcoming years.
- Prepare a spot in the garden NOW for early planting of peas. This way you’ll be all ready for planting peas in the spring, before the soil dries out.
- Tidy up the asparagus bed. Cut off the tops of the plants to about 3-4″ above the soil level. Weed, and add a winter dressing of compost or aged manure to the bed.
- Early November is a good time to plant most fruit trees, especially if a little mulch is added. Local gardening and landscape centers often offer discounts on fruit trees at this time of the year.
- If you have been thinking about installing a deer fence around your vegetable garden, the fall and winter months are a good time to design and build a deer fence.
Virginia Cooperative Extension, Albemarle/Charlottesville, November Monthly Horticulture Tip Sheets, Va. Coop. Ext. Monthly Tip Sheets
“Deer,” Internet Center For Wildlife Damage Management, Cornell University, Clemson University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Utah State University, Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management –Deer