The lockdown in England will be keeping many of us at home this month, but there’s plenty to do in the garden to stay busy and prepare for a beautiful spring.
Garden centres will be staying open during the lockdown so you can buy any supplies you need or you can order online for them to be delivered to your door.
1. Plant tulips
November is the best month to plant tulips as the ground is cool and moist. These conditions reduce the risk of a disease called tulip fire, which distorts the leaves and ruins the flowers.
Plant your tulips three times the height of the bulb as bulbs planted deeply are more likely to flower in future years. They can be grown in the ground and in patio pots.
If you have any other spring bulbs, such as daffodils and crocus, plant these asap and you’ll get flowers in the spring.
2. Get organised
It’s a great time to take everything out of the shed, clean it and then only put back the tools you really use.
We all accumulate stuff over time so it’s a great opportunity to think about what would be best recycled for other people to use. The Conservation Foundation will take garden tools so that they can be repaired by prisoners and then given to schools and community gardens.
Once you know what you’ve got, you can make a list of anything you need to buy, such as seed trays and labels, ready for raising plants in the spring.
3. Plant veg
It might seem a bit late in the year to be planting veg but November is a great time to plant garlic and broad beans.
Garlic needs a period of cold to grow well so break up a bulb and plant the individual cloves 15cm apart in rows 30cm apart. It’s best to use garlic from the garden centre as supermarket garlic is bred to grow in hotter countries than the UK.
Broad-bean seeds are best sown in pots of compost and planted outside once they’re big enough to handle. Autumn-sown plants will have a head start over spring ones.
4. Feed the birds
As temperatures begin to fall, natural food sources start to reduce too. Putting out high-energy foods, such as fat balls, is a great way to help birds in your garden.
Not all fat balls are the same quality. When we tested them, we found that some were left almost untouched by the birds.
Make sure you remove any netting that is sometimes used to wrap the fat balls as this can become tangled in birds’ feet. Put the fat balls in a bird feeder and position it near a bush that the birds can quickly hide in if predators are around.
5. Clear leaves from hard surfaces
The colder weather means that leaf fall will be in full swing this month. Leaves that fall on lawns and borders can be left where they are as the worms will drag them into the soil where they’ll help to improve it.
However, leaves on hard surfaces, such as paths, patios and driveways, are well worth collecting as they’ll quickly turn slippery. A broom or rake is a good way to gather them while also getting some exercise. Alternatively you may prefer to use a leaf blower.
Once collected, the leaves can go in black bin bags and be left in a quiet corner for 18 months. At the end of this time, they’ll have rotted down and will be leaf-mould compost that can be spread on the earth to improve it.