Action for November Fruit and veg
- Rhubarb should be divided every five years or so - do it now!
- Once divided, replant in soil enriched with well-rotted manure.
- Cover the crowns with straw and an upturned dustbin to force an earlier crop.
Plants fruit trees and bushes
- Plant fruit trees and bushes between now and March, as long as the soil isn’t frozen or too wet.
- Dig in plenty of garden compost or well-rotted manure first and plant as you would ordinary trees and shrubs.
- Mulch afterwards with garden compost, well-rotted manure or straw.
- When planting blackcurrants, make sure that 8-10cm of the stem is below ground level. Then prune to 10cm from the ground to produce strong new growth.
What to prune now
Blackberries and hybrid berries:
- Cut off all fruited canes at the base.
- Tie in new canes to their supports.
- If there are only a few new canes, retain healthy old ones but cut their side-shoots back to 2cm.
Gooseberries and redcurrants:
- Aim to open up the centre of the bush so that air can circulate. This will reduce the risk of diseases.
- Aim for four or five main branches, ensuring that each one has plenty of fruiting branches coming off it.
- Cut out any branches that are crossing, dead or diseased.
Get rid of pests
Collect and dispose of any fruit infected with brown rot that’s either still on the branches or has fallen from apple, pear, cherry, peach and plum trees.
Apple scab and pear scab
Check apples and pears for scab and collect fallen leaves and fruit for disposal. Scab causes the leaves to develop dark greenish-brown spots, while dark corky patches appear on the fruit.
Also check the twigs for the blistered swellings that indicate scab – prune out any that you find and burn them.
Apple and pear canker
Prune out and burn any twigs or branches of fruit trees showing signs of canker (sunken areas on the twigs or patches of dead bark).
On the veg patch
Sow peas now for an early summer crop.
Choose hardy peas such as ‘Feltham First’, ‘Meteor’ and mangetout ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ and sow in an unheated greenhouse, either in pots or the soil border.
Cover root crops with straw to prevent the soil freezing and make harvesting easier. Don’t cover parsnips – they have a better flavour after they’ve been frosted.
Net brassicas or cover with mesh to protect from pigeons.
Planting and harvesting
Plant autumn onion sets and garlic provided the soil isn’t frozen or extremely wet.
Harvest Brussels sprouts from the bottom of the plant up.
Growing cauliflowers? Then cover the ‘curd’ (white area) to keep it white as exposure to the sun will cause discolouration, which affects the taste.
Bend or tie the cauliflower leaves over the curd.