November gardening in the home landscape is always a mixed bag of tasks (and weather). Some jobs are timely and appropriate, and others we may just need to catch up with. Here’s a few to make sure are on your to-do list:
We have had some pretty cool weather, so end-of-season vegetables will need to be harvested and stored properly or eaten fresh. If you still have carrots or parsnips lined out, consider digging the whole row and healing them back in at the edge of garden for retrieval later. Mulch them with some straw to make it easier when snow covered. Rather than healing in a big bunch, heal in smaller groupings and you will have just enough for a side dish or dig up 2-3 bunches and have enough for stew. One crop that should be planted in the fall is garlic. A bit earlier would have been preferred yet getting garlic planted this late is not going to set them back.
As a reminder, garden hoses need to be disconnected from the house spigot, drained, wound up, and stored properly until needed next spring. If you have been keeping any liquid fertilizers or sprays in the garden shed, bring them into a warmer place so they do not freeze. An unheated garage that stays above freezing works, or a spot well away from a heat source in the basement works too. These products need to be out of reach of children and/or locked away in a cabinet.
If you have had a lot of containers on the patio, those should be emptied so they do not freeze and break. The plants and soil that come out of those pots can be added to the compost or spread in the vegetable or perennial beds. If the pots are to be left outside, turn them over so they do not collect water to freeze and break either.
Lawn and mower maintenance
Second to last, since we have had all the rain, the lawn is still growing. Be sure to continue to mow a bit longer into November. You also may want to sharpen those mower blades to be ready for spring.
While we’re talking about the mower, be sure the last tankful has some stabilizer in it, so the fuel system is protected. Something easy to do is adding the stabilizer to your gas can instead of trying to measure out the right amount for the mower gas tank. Then it also is there for the snowblower too.
Leaf clean up
Lastly, trees have a whole lot of leaves yet, so leaf clean up will continue for some time. You can rake them into beds or add them along with any green fall clean up material to the compost bin or pile. The last resort will be mulching them with the lawn mower and sending them to the curb for pick up.
About the author: Richard Hentschel’s expertise extends across several subject areas with specialties in lawn care, fruit tree production, woody ornamentals, and home and community gardening. During his 45-year career in horticulture and agriculture, Hentschel became a well-known and respected expert for commercial and homeowner audiences, industry organizations, and media. He retired from University of Illinois Extension in April 2022 with nearly 30 years of service as a Horticulture Specialist and Educator in northern Illinois.