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Andrew Tokely's Gardening Tips for November 01 November 2021

November is here and autumn has well and truly arrived but there is no time to sit back and relax as there are still plenty of crops to plant and tidying up jobs to be done in preparation for next years displays.

  1. One job that can be done early this month, whatever the weather, is planting Amaryllis bulbs, so you will be able to enjoy them indoors from Christmas, going into January. I like to simply plant a single bulb, in a 13-15cm (5-6in) pot, so it is sitting on the high side, so only the bottom 1/3 of the bulb is covered with compost. Give the compost a little water, stand it on a warm windowsill and watch it grow.
  1. Before we get any very cold and frosty weather, it is important to protect pot grown Fig plants. These should be moved into a cold glasshouse or under a carport, as this will help protect any small embryo figs from frost damage. As these small figs will produce your fig crop next year.
  1. Seed and plant catalogues are falling through the letterbox each week at the moment. Take advantage of the long winter evenings and browse through the pages and plan your display for the year ahead. Early ordering is always advisable to guarantee you get the seeds and plants you require.
  1. Any containers you have plants growing in for the winter months are best raised slightly off the ground from now through to the spring. By standing your pots on some stones, bricks or laths of wood will help to keep the drainage hole off the ground and allow free drainage. This helps prevent your containers becoming waterlogged during very wet spells of weather.
  1. This month is the ideal time for planting Roses. When planting always make sure the hole is large enough, to spread the roots out sufficiently and then add some home made compost to the planting hole with a dusting of Bone meal before planting. Always plant roses at the correct depth, so the soil level is 8cm (3in) above the knuckle of the plant (where the stems join the root of the plant), then gently backfill with soil and lightly tread in to firm. Water roses well after planting.
  1. November is the best month to plant Tulip bulbs. These should be planted at least twice the bulb depth. Plant in an open sunny site in borders or containers. There is also still plenty of time to plant Daffodils and Crocus as well if not already done. Many garden centres will have these on offer at the moment so you can fill your garden and containers with some real bargains.
  1. If like me you enjoy growing fresh vegetables, well this month is the perfect time to sow some Broad beans and Peas outside on the vegetable plot, provided the soil is not waterlogged. When Sowing Broad beans at this time of year, you will need a hardy variety like Aquadulce Claudia, and a hardy variety of Peas like Meteor. Both Peas and Beans should be sown in drills, on the vegetable plot, and are best sown under cloches for early winter protection. Sowing these vegetables this month will give you an early harvest next spring.
  1. Many of the marginal plants growing beside ponds are looking past there best this month. These can be cut down to just above soil or water level. This will give the plants a rest for the winter, as well as tidy up the look of your pond. At the same time you can remove any leaves that may have fallen into the water, improving the water quality.
  1. Soft fruit bushes at this time of year will benefit from having a thick mulch of well-rotted farmyard manure or old compost put around the base of each plant. This will help keep the ground free from weeds as well as add nutrients to the soil, and increase your crop next year.
  1.  One very quick but very important job at this time of year is to check Potatoes, Carrots and Beetroot that are stored for winter use. Make sure you remove any tubers or roots that are showing any signs of decay. This will stop any fungal disease spreading through the whole of your stored crop, and ruining your hard-earned harvest.

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