November! The month of winding down the gardening, finding comfort indoors and giving thanks. A month for review and gratitude. This gift of time behooves me to use it well. As I go about the final round of garden chores, I take stock of how things went for both garden and gardener. Were expectations met? Did I do right by my covenant to do no harm? What balls were dropped? What were the successes/failures? It’s an inventory of what all has happened in the garden this passing year.
I make note of my assessments and observations. In December, I will reflect on the points. But for now I must get the remaining chores completed.
Things To Do In November
1. First and foremost, put away all Halloween decorations. Set up Thanksgiving displays – gourds, pumpkins, ornamental kales and cabbages, chrysanthemums and asters.
2. Having cut back plants and cleared debris, mulch all plant beds with fallen leaves and/or bark chips. Putting down layers of newspaper or opened up paper grocery bags over the soil and then covering with fallen leaves is a really good, eco-friendly, sustainable practice.
3. Hurry up and finish all pending tasks from last month!
4. Finish planting spring flowering bulbs.
5. Protect pots to be left outdoors, vulnerable plants such as boxwood, certain roses, and garden statuary.
6. Reinstall and fill bird feeders. Note: in my area, we are cautioned to not put up feeders due to bear sightings.
7. Be prepared for snow and ice. Keep snow shovels, grit or sand, firewood stocked and handy.
8. In case of power outage, have candles, flashlights, matches and batteries on the ready. A radio too – I have a radio that uses batteries but it can also be charged up by mechanical cranking. Came in handy when a few years ago we lost power and Internet for a whole week due to Hurricane Sandy.
9. Finish raking leaves. Remember, leaving fallen leaves in place is encouraged. I keep only the various paths and my tiny lawn clear as the former needs to be kept safe for passage and the latter risks getting smothered to death if the thick pile of leaves shed from surrounding trees are left in place. Those leaves on the lawn are raked and distributed over the adjacent beds.
10. Clean and store tools. Get appropriate ones sharpened.
11. Start setting aside seed and plant catalogs. Soon you will be planning for next year!
12. While the weather is pleasant enough, keep on weed watch!
13. In the greenhouse, be sure the heater is doing its job. Ventilation is also important to keep plants healthy.
14. Start a routine for regular watering of plants indoors. Keep vigil for early signs of pests or disease.
15. Start growing amaryllis and paperwhites for seasonal cheer. Similarly, put bulbs such as hyacinths, muscari , crocus and tulips in for cooling. (I use my refrigerator). In about fourteen to eighteen weeks, you can start forcing them and pretend it is spring indoors!
16. Enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving. Plan for it.
Some scenes from the garden and home –
(c) 2023 Shobha Vanchiswar
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