The air has cooled down, and so have most gardens by the time that November rolls in. While some gardeners are still practicing November gardening and harvesting and may have extended their growing seasons with fall and winter gardens, others are putting their gardens to bed for the winter.
No matter what stage you are at this November, there are many essential tasks on our November Garden Checklist Zones 6-8 that will help keep your gardens on track for continued success. As always, it’s a great idea to consult your local extension office for garden guidance specific to your county.
November Gardening & Planning
As we put our garden beds to sleep in November, those gardeners in zones 6-8 have tons of things to talk about and reflect on, along with exciting ideas about what you will do better next year. Take out your November gardening journal and ride the wave of inspiration!
- Get a head start on next spring’s garden! Have your soil tested at the end of the fall garden season! Once you get your results, amend your soil with what it lacks so microorganisms can break these nutrients down and make them available to plants in time for planting.
- Indoor seed starting time will be here before you know it! Assess your seed stock, order seeds, and seed-starting supplies. Consider things like grow lights, heating mats, seed-starting mix, seed-starting containers, seed storage supplies, and fun seed varieties.
- Reflect on the layout of this year’s garden. Adjust your garden layout for next year by sketching out plant placement for next year. Were your gardens overcrowded? Did some plants overshade others? Did plants succumb to certain diseases in a particular spot? Did you lack pollinators? Make adjustments and consider rotating crops for soil and plant health.
- Inspired by some hardscape ideas or want to build raised beds or trellises? Jot down what supplies you might need so that you can work on them over the winter indoors.
- Think about whether or not you utilized your harvest the best you could. Perhaps you might like to add a spiralizer, canning supplies, or dehydrator (to store for winter soups, etc.) to your wish list to diversify the ways that you can store and use your produce.
- Think about season-extending tools for frost protection such as row covers, hoop houses, and cold frames. Perhaps you can add some of these tools to your toolbox.
- Reward yourself for a job well done in the garden, and take some time to relax and enjoy the fall and winter seasons.
- Reflect on what pests were a problem in the garden and research organic methods of protecting your future gardens.
- Jot down what the temperatures and rainfall in your area were like and what problems they presented for you.
Zones 6-8 Garden Prep & Maintenance
Our November Gardening Checklist Zone 6-8 wouldn’t be complete without prep and maintenance tasks. There are lots of things that you can do in your garden this month that will bolster the health and performance of your future gardens.
With a little bit of upkeep, soil building and protection, and general maintenance of tools and garden areas, you’ll be able to close out the growing season without any unfinished business.
- Water thoroughly before a freeze to insulate your plants.
- If you plan on November gardening and growing, have row covers at the ready to protect tender plants.
- Clean up all plant debris to avoid existing pest and disease issues from overwintering in your garden.
- Continue pulling weeds. Winter weeds can take over quickly, so keep up with the task, so you will have fewer pesky weeds come springtime.
- Turn your compost pile to distribute the organic matter and keep it hot.
- Clear your summer garden. Add healthy vines and plants to your compost heap.
- Improve your soil by adding a layer of compost.
- Collect seeds from veggies and flowers that are still clinging to the stalks and vines.
- Divide perennial plants that have overgrown their spaces. Share the garden love with friends and neighbors or spread them around your landscape.
- Avoid having and bare soil in your garden areas. If your vegetable garden will not be in use over the winter and you did not plant a cover crop, mulch all exposed soil. This protects it from erosion, enriches the soil, and keeps winter weeds from propagating.
- If you are planning a new garden bed or a hardscape addition, the cooler month of November is the perfect time to do some of the labor involved in the project.
- Allow some leaves to remain in perennial gardens. Not only will they break down and enrich the soil with organic matter and protect your soil from erosion, but they add much-needed protection for beneficial organisms.
- Clean, dry, and cover or store lawn furniture.
- Empty your pots and containers, clean them and store them upside down in a garage or shed. This is particularly important for clay or ceramic pots. Water can freeze and expand in the pots and cause them to crack. This includes birdbaths too!
- Drain all the water from your irrigation system lines and hoses.
- Overseed, aerate, fertilize and clear leaves and debris off of fall lawns.
- Clean and sanitize bird feeders. Assess your supply of winter birdseed.
- Wrap tender saplings with burlap to protect their trunks from frost cracks and hungry deer.
- Bring in tender houseplants that have been enjoying the summer and early fall outdoors. Remove any diseased leaves, repot them with new soil, and spritz with an organic insecticidal soap before moving indoors to ensure no pests can contaminate other plants. Place them in a sunny window to acclimate to the transition.
- For those in Zone 6, it’s the last chance to dig up any tender tubers like dahlias, caladium, and elephant’s ear. Store them in a cool, dry place over the winter.
Maintaining Your Garden Tools
Garden and landscaping tools are significant investments, and they make our jobs as gardeners much easier, so it’s vital to take proper care of them. With the right care and keeping of your garden tools and equipment, they will be ready for use when you need them and will last for many years to come.
- Wash and sanitize tools.
- Store tools in a safe place away from the elements.
- Sand and apply linseed oil to tool handles.
- Have your chainsaw and lawn mower blades sharpened.
Indoor Fall & Winter Planting
- Start indoor November gardening; Sow seeds for kitchen herbs to grow indoors over the winter months.
- Consider growing microgreens indoors to keep your harvest going.
- Many indoor houseplants will go into dormancy during the fall and winter months. Cease fertilizing during this time and resume again in early spring.
Fall Outdoor Planting
- If you planted cool-season crop seeds last month, go ahead and thin them now.
- Plant cool-season flowers like snapdragons, dianthus, pansies, mums, and asters for fall color.
- Plant fall flower bulbs and create a feast for the eyes after a long winter. Those in Zone 7 and 8 may have to cold-treat bulbs before planting.
- Plant hardy perennials and water them in well.
- Plant cool-season transplant vegetables for a winter crop. Be ready with some frost protection to protect them from cold temperatures.
- Plant onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, and dill.
November Garden Harvesting
We may be transitioning to the winter months, but harvesting is still in full swing for those who planted a fall crop in zones 6-8. Enjoy gathering up your prized vegetables and add them to soups and stews all winter long.
All zones can harvest:
Zones 7 and 8 can harvest:
- Sweet potatoes
- Collard greens