You would think by November the garden chores would be done. Not quite. If you haven’t already, make sure that the canes of your climbing roses and other vining plants are securely fastened to their supports. Winter winds can whip and severely damage unprotected plants. Don’t tie them so tightly that the fastenings cut into the stem. You can use a length of an old nylon stocking that will stretch as the plant grows, rather than cutting into the stem. Make a loop so each tie forms a figure 8, with the crossed portion between the stem and the support to keep stems from rubbing or being choked. Also mound an additional five to six inches of soil around the bases of those roses and any hardy Fuchsias and roses. Cut back Chrysanthemum stems to 2-3 inches from the soil once they have begun to die back. Tender bulbs should be dug up and stored in a cool, dark area after first frost.
In the vegetable garden you should cut the tops off your asparagus plants, if you have them, and add a winter dressing of aged manure to the bed. Cover strawberries two inches deep with hay or straw.
Keep leaves raked from the lawn. They should be composted. Mix green and dry materials with a shovelful of soil and an optional handful of fertilizer. Sprinkle with water weekly if there is no rain. It will be compost by spring, sooner if you turn the pile.
Odds and ends
Please feed the birds and other small creatures which may not be able to find food due to snow on the ground or other causes. Their natural food sources have pretty much dried up by this time of the year. For only a few dollars you can feed an enormous number of birds.
In those boring sleepy winter days my cats will be entertained by the feathered visitors and I will be cheered as well.
If you haven’t done so yet, drain your hoses and put them away so they don’t freeze and burst. Clean and oil your garden tools for winter storage. This is also a good month to restock any tools that have seen better days, while the prices are lower. After the last mowing of the year, make sure that your lawn mower is properly stored. Run it until it is out of fuel…. old gas can turn to varnish, and severely damage the engine.
It’s a good idea to use small stakes or markers where you’ve planted bulbs or late starting spring plants in the perennial garden, to avoid disturbing them when you begin spring soil preparation.