Late autumn is a quiet time in the garden, with short, cold days and long, often frosty, nights. Due to the dipping temperatures and lower light levels November tends to be a foggy month, as well as a wet and cold. Most plants are dormant at this time of year and required very little attention.
There are still few tasks to be done, such as continuing to rake-up leaves and digging over the ground for next spring's planting, whenever the weather is suitable. Also continue to check stakes, ties and supports on trees and shrubs.
The end of November is a good time to start planting bare rooted and container grown deciduous trees and shrubs (both ornamental and fruiting). Planting time depends on when they are delivered and what condition the ground is in. If the ground is frozen or waterlogged, heel in bare-rooted subjects and store container grown ones until things improve.
Plants in the greenhouse will still need occasional watering, the greenhouse air is likely to be damp and cold, a combination favourable to various unpleasant fungal infections. Ventilation is still necessary, to get fresh air into the greenhouse, but it must be balanced against draughts and sudden frosts. If your greenhouse is a heated one, you will find daytime heating more and more necessary as the month passes. Artificial lighting is much more the province of the commercial grower, but you can take steps to ensure that whatever sunlight is around reaches your plants. Remove dust and dirt from the glass or plastic and clear leaves from the roof.
All waste vegetation should be added to the compost heap to return the goodness to the soil and enrich the garden in future years. Any soft vegetation can be added including mowings, vegetable tops, the remains of ornamental plants and prunings (if shredded).
Leaves should be composted separately as they will take much longer to break down, however, they will form excellent leaf mould, which is very useful product in the garden. So good in fact it's worth gathering leaves from outside the garden (where allowed) to add to the pile.
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