The Vegetable Garden in November

With the arrival of November, the 2017 vegetable growing season is finally coming to an end, and those early tomato seedlings are rapidly becoming a distant memory. November in the vegetable garden is a clean-up month,  and also a time to reflect back on the growing season.  Don’t forget to make year-end notes in your garden journal —  which varieties did well and which varieties performed below expectations: this information can be very valuable when planning for the 2018 growing season.  And we will soon be reminded of the upcoming growing season because in  December, we will start to receive the 2018 seed catalogs — chock full of pristine and unblemished photos and exciting new vegetable offerings.

Here’s my Vegetable Garden To-Do List for November:

  • Root crops such as carrots, radishes, turnips and parsnips can be stored 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 fruit should be cleaned up and destroyed by burying or placing them in the trash. Good sanitation practices reduce re-infestion 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 thick 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,  (434) 872-4580.
  • Don’t forget the garden hoses: drain and roll up and store on a warm sunny day. It’s hard to get a cold-water hose to coil into a tight coil. Also, be sure to shut off and drain any outdoor water pipes and irrigation systems that could freeze during the cold weather.
  • Rhubarb plants that are four years old or more can be divided and transplanted. A site prepared by deep digging and incorporating compost will pay off 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 inches 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.

Sources:

Virginia Cooperative Extension, Albemarle/Charlottesville, November Monthly Horticulture Tip Sheets,Va. Coop. Ext. 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

 

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