NOVEMBER IN THE GARDEN
Officially the last month of spring, November often has many rainy days making the garden difficult to access both for working in and recreation. The rain spoils many flowering plants and causes fungal diseases or rot in many plants. Good drainage becomes important at this time of year. It tends to be a bit of an “in between season” for gardeners being the end of spring and the beginning of summer. However, use November to get the garden ready for the imminent holiday season when it’s usually more user friendly.
- Dead head flowering plants.
- Apply regular, bi-weekly applications of water-soluble fertiliser to ensure healthy growth. This is particularly important for outdoor pots and hanging baskets.
- There is a long list of flower seedlings that can be planted now for a spectacular summer and autumn display. Bedding begonias, impatiens, torenias for shade and zinnias, portulaca, salvias, marigolds and celosias for sun.
- Planting now will ensure that the garden is in full bloom during the festive season.
- Plant out young plants of all the many different types of peppers and chillies. They will produce through late summer and into autumn.
- Continue with small sowings and plantings of wet weather tolerant veggies.
- Control weed growth to the best of your ability.
- Harvest any ripening vegetables that may be damaged by the constant wet weather.
- Fertilise regularly as the rainfall leaches away available nutrients.
- Watch for fungal diseases like powdery mildew on cucurbits (the pumpkin and cucumber family).
- Some herbs literally drown in the wet weather conditions. They may need replacing with fresh young plants once the weather settles and the sun shines more frequently.
- Continue to prune back any aggressive herbs like mint.
- Apply a regular dosage of water-soluble plant food during the wet weather.
- Make regular sowings of coriander, basil and rocket. Need a continuous supply of fresh young plants to withstand the weather conditions.
- Spray apples and pears for coddling moth.
- Harvest peaches and early plums.
- Collect any fallen fruit from under trees and bury or add to compost heap.
- Feed all fruit trees with a balanced general fertiliser such as 3:1:5 with slow release nitrogen.
- Stake young trees planted during spring.
- Check very young new growth on citrus trees for psylla.
- Remove dead foliage from spring flowering bulbs.
- Perennials like day lilies and agapanthus perform well now. Check for pests and diseases like rust and lily borer.
- A general application of fertiliser throughout the whole garden is very important with higher rainfall. This counteracts the leaching of nutrients caused by the rain.
- Prune back the last of the spring flowering shrubs.
- Colourful fillers to plant now in gardens or pots – angelonias, begonias, salvias in variety, New Guinea impatiens, Sunpatiens, plectranthus, coleus.
- As rainfall increases, spraying becomes all the more important. Spray on any dry day especially if there has been prolonged rainfall since last application.
- Check for red spider mite on the under surface of the older leaves and treat with a miticide.
- Continue with monthly fertiliser applications. Still use 8:1:5 or 5:1:5 for optimum results.
- Water deeply if there is little rainfall.
- Dead head spent flowers by cutting back the flowering stem by two thirds.
- Regular mowing can become a bit of a challenge with all the rainfall. Mow whenever weather conditions permit. Don’t let the grass grow too long.
- Continue fertiliser applications with a high nitrogen lawn feed. We recommend a 7:1:3 formulation.
- Trim the lawn edges regularly to prevent grass from invading flower beds, boundary fences and other garden structures.
- Watch for fungal infections like dollar spot and fairy rings – treat with fungicide.
- Beware of cricket damage.
- Weed control is particularly important at this time of year. Prevent the set of seeds at all costs.
- Continue with your pest and disease watch. Quick reaction time is paramount in controlling any problem that is detected.
- Check potted plants for drainage. Lift onto “pot feet” if need be to ensure drainage holes remain fully functional. Unblock the holes on any waterlogged pots.
- Water plants that are under the roof overhang of buildings. They don’t benefit from all the rainfall and can die from drought or neglect.
- Check rampant plant growth in ponds and water features. This may require draining and de-silting in some instances. They will fill up quickly again during the rainy season.
- Trim topiaries and hedges back in to shape after the recent spring growth flush.
A late summer garden has a tranquility found no other time of the year.