In the Vegetable Garden - Things to do this Month - November

butternut-squashYou’d think everything would be quietening down on the veggie plot … far from it! The colder weather marks the end of this year’s growing season, but there’s plenty to do to get ready for next year.

For a complete guide to what you can be growing and harvesting month-by-month, download our Vegetable Planting Guide.

  • The Final Harvest:potatoes (dry off skins, then store in sacks); beans (if any left in the pods, allow to dry, then store in jars for adding to casseroles); cabbages (first, check for any slugs, then store in a frost-free shed); tomatoes & peppers in the greenhouse (use unripe ones for chutney, or store in the dark in a cool room where they will slowly ripen – a banana will help the process!); Squashes & Pumpkins need to be checked for rot as the weather gets cooler and wetter – once the foliage has died back, cut the fruits and leave on racks for the skins to dry.
  • Things to Plant and Sow:onion sets and garlic; broad beans (these will do best under cloches or fleece); also, this is the best time to sow sweet peas – not edible but they look lovely around the plot (but protect from mice over winter); lettuces (in the greenhouse); green manures (if cold and wet, try field beans).
  • Tidy the Plot:over-wintered brassicas remove all yellow and dead leaves and firm them in if they’ve been blown about by autumn winds; empty the greenhouse and scrub with Jeyes fluid.
  • Protect your soil:lightly fork over the plot and add plenty of FYM (Farm Yard Manure) and/or leafmould to rot down over winter and encourage lots of worm activity to help aerate your soil. If you leave soil open to the elements the rain will leach out essential nutrients and impoverish the soil.
  • Planning: draw a plan of your plot and sketch in your planting layout for this year – then, when you come to plan next year’s planting you will be able to rotate the plant groups. Leave it to next year and you will have forgotten!
  • Dig a New Vegetable Bed: as long as the ground isn’t frozen, this is a great way to keep warm and fit during the winter months and expand your vegetable area (who needs an unproductive lawn)! Try to avoid treading wet soil too much as it will lead to compaction, and add plenty of manure (or lime, depending on soil type, but not both together) as you dig.