November Gardening

November Gardening by Ewshot Gardener

The colour of trees in the garden and wider countryside turns to gold, red and bronze, quite lovely on a sunny day. The ground beneath looks gold plated.
I like to rustle through the colourful fallen leaves, so I am not fastidious about raking them up immediately – they will do no harm for several weeks and will provide food for worms. After too long, they will start to damage grass and provide slug heaven, so I will have to pick them up and make leaf mould!
Dead leaves in the pond should be removed with a rake or net, but leave some as a habitat for invertebrates. Put the extracted leaves near the pond for a day so that any creepy-crawlies can get back into the water.
At this time of year, the fruiting bodies of fungi (toadstools) are visible. It is worth remembering that leaves are broken down mainly by fungi, liberating nutrients. The vast network of tiny tubes (mycelium) from which the toadstools arise is of great importance to the health of trees and shrubs. They live in a mutually beneficial relationship with the roots, increasing surface area for the uptake of water and nutrients. More is being discovered all the time. Fungi mostly only colonise a plant that is already damaged or stressed.
Jobs to do
Greenhouse: clean the glass to maximise light. The RHS says to disinfect staging and pots, but, if you have biological control agents, e.g. Encarsia wasps for whitefly, this will wipe them out and you have to start them again.
Kitchen Garden: When the leaves are down then you can start pruning fruit trees except plums. Remove dead, diseased and crossing branches. I’m told a pigeon should be able to fly through the tree when you have finished! Cut side shoots back to two buds and leaders to six.
Currants should be pruned to give an open structure. Take cuttings from the prunings: push into soil to a depth of 6 inches (15cm)
Sow broad beans and plant garlic cloves now.
Ornamental garden: Prune Acers, put grit round alpine to stop rot, plant tulip bulbs. Raise pots on pot feet to prevent waterlogging. Leave ornamental seed heads as food and shelter for wildlife
For the child in you (or in your home)
Suspend a garlic clove over a jar of water using a cocktail stick. If the base is just touching the water, roots grow in a day or two…MAGIC! You can do the same with an avocado stone, but it takes longer for the root to grow.
Children may like to grow conkers, sweet chestnut, acorns, hazel nuts and walnuts. They need to be cold over Winter in order to germinate, so put in a pot in a cold frame, or in moss in a bag in the fridge.
Warning: they produce BIG trees eventually.

Gardens to visit this month
West Green House near Hartley Wintney open 11-4, 15th Nov to 20th Dec
Winkworth Arboretum for Autumn colour open for NGS on 1st October, open National Trust all year 10am-6pm, except Christmas.
Exbury Garden near Beaulieu, New Forest; expensive (£11.40), but magical. Open 20th Mar to 5th November. (