November gardening tips
Fruit trees and bushes
Now is the perfect time to plant soft fruits such as raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries and currants. Plant in well prepared soil enriched with plenty of compost or well rotted farmyard manure, to the same depth as they were before. Blackcurrants, however, should be planted lower than usual in the planting hole with 5cm of stem below ground level as this encourages new growth from the base of the plant.
Prevent winter moth damage to fruit trees by using grease bands around the trunks - not hugely attractive but very effective!
Prune established apple and pear trees - keep the centre of the tree fairly open to allow air to circulate freely which helps avoid disease. Ensure any crossing and rubbing branches are cut out - open wounds will only encourage disease. If you are unsure about how to prune, please ask for advice at the garden centre.
Prune gooseberries again, removing any growth crowding the centre of the bush. Keep a clear 'leg' at the base of the bush.
Do not prune cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots or almonds until the spring to avoid the risk of introducing disease.
Check stored fruit and throw out any that show the slightest sign of rotting - once even one starts to go, the rot will spread like wildfire and your entire store will be ruined.
Remove any figs larger than a pea - the tiny ones are embryo figs that will be next year's crop. The larger ones will not survive the winter.
Vegetables and herbs
Now is the time to plant garlic - sow individual cloves into well prepared ground so just the tip shows. Plant 6" apart in rows a foot apart; by June it will be ripe if you plant it now – if you miss the boat this month, wait until March for harvesting in September. And don't be tempted to plant supermarket garlic, it will probably not work.
Plant shallots too - in the same way as above.
Plant broad beans for an early crop - the 'long legged' varieties such as Aquadulce Claudia are best for autumn sowing. Sow early peas such as Feltham First and protect with netting to avoid mouse and bird damage.
Pot up chives and mint roots to grow inside on a sunny windowsill over the winter; the warmth will con them into thinking it's time to grow! Cut them little and often and keep well watered for lovely fresh herbs all winter.
Protect cabbages, Brussels sprouts etc with netting to thwart hungry pigeons. Continue to harvest carrots, leeks, Brussels sprouts (from the bottom upwards) and parsnips (after a frost).