Nicky’s Guide For November In The Garden

Now that ex tropical cyclone Lola has thrashed her way across the country we should be heading into one of the loveliest months in the garden. Soils are still moist, temperatures are getting warmer, the days longer and, as a result, plant growth is taking off. This is the month that I do the majority of my summer planting. I have resisted the temptation to plant out my capsicums, chilli\’s, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumber other than in the greenhouse. My potted up seedlings are looking lush and healthy and will spend 4-7 days outside, getting used to life in the real world, before I pop them in the ground. I will however be keeping the frost cloths and cloches handy just in case.
My garden is looking overgrown (AKA slightly messy) as I wait for winter crops to come to their natural end and plant out new seedlings as and when the time is right for each variety. These older crops can actually offer shelter for tender new seedlings and as they go to seed they provide food for the bees as well as the opportunity to save fresh seed. Last year my seed saving efforts were hampered by a diabolical growing season on the whole, my beans literally rotting on sodden vines, so I\’ll be eager to save fresh stocks this year. Saving your own seed improves their robustness, as they adapt to your soil and environmental conditions.
This month plant lettuce and leafy greens, such as silverbeet, pak choy, spinach, cress, sorrel, fennel and herbs like rocket, coriander, mizuna, parsley, chervil, dill and chives. Plant every 2-3 weeks for a continuous supply. If you are planting Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbages), these must be netted with a fine insect mesh to keep out the cabbage white butterflies. Last chance to get your strawberry plants in.
Sow root crops such as spring onions, beetroot, radish, parsnip, potatoes, it is the last optimal month for carrots. Tomatoes, chillies, basil, sweetcorn, beans, zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin, eggplant and kumara tipu can go out if you feel you are past all frost danger.
Flowers for you and the bees include sweetpeas, poppies, nasturtiums, cosmos, sunflowers, echinacea, snapdragons, zinnia, marigolds, calendula, cornflowers and salvia.
Warmer weather and increased humidity brings in new bugs, so keep an eye out for aphids, stink bugs and fluffy bums and squish, blast with the hose or spray with neem as soon as you spot them. Having biodiversity in your garden, plenty of flowers, letting things go to seed and lots of mulch, will all bring in the beneficial insects; ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, predator wasps and praying mantis, to help sort out your pesky bugs. Regular seaweed foliar feeds are critical and a neem oil spray every couple of weeks is my go to if I spot a real problem. Diatomaceous Earth can also be useful sprinkled over fresh growing tips, especially in the glasshouse where the DE won\’t get washed away with the rain. Remain vigilant with your night slug and snail patrols.
Plant citrus, passionfruit, tamarillo and avocado, ensuring young trees are well staked. Feed and mulch your deciduous trees. Comfrey planted under your pip and stone fruit is an excellent low maintenance living mulch.
Happy Gardening!
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