November Garden Jobs for the Vegetable Garden

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A checklist of November garden jobs, such as what to sow and harvest, and seasonal tasks for your vegetable garden. Also includes projects that help wildlife and prepare your growing space for next spring.

November is a beautiful, peaceful month in the garden. In early November, frosts are either commonplace or just around the corner, depending on where you live. Tender crops should have been harvested and safely stored for winter. There are still many hardy crops that we can continue to harvest throughout winter.

A checklist of November garden jobs, such as what to sow and harvest, and seasonal tasks for your vegetable garden. Also includes projects that help wildlife and prepare your growing space for next spring #vegetablegarden #gardeningtips #garden

Towards the end of November, most parts of the UK are experiencing regular frosts. Seed sowing becomes more difficult due to reduced temperatures and sunlight. Now is the time to look forward to spring next year, by planting spring crops, fruit bushes and trees, and spring bulbs.

November Garden Jobs Checklist

  • Plant onion sets and garlic bulbs
  • Lift or mulch Dahlias
  • Plant Spring Bulbs
  • Plant Bare Root Roses
  • Set up bird feeders
  • Insulate your greenhouse
  • Plant bare-root fruit trees
  • Harvest root vegetables, brassicas, chard, and salads
  • Harvest any tender crops before the frost
Sow broad beans in November either direct or in small pots in the greenhouse
Broad bean varieties such as Aguadulce can be sown in autumn

Seeds to Sow in November

One of our November garden jobs is to plant seeds and bulbs that will give us color and food in our vegetable gardens next year. Sow broad beans and winter hardy peas outside if your winters are mild and your vegetable patch is in a sheltered spot. Otherwise, you can sow them undercover in pots for planting out in spring.

In November, sow pak choi and spring onions in modules in a greenhouse or outside under cloches. You can also sow other winter hardy salad crops, such as lettuce, arugula, spinach, and lambs’ lettuce either indoors or outdoors.

Yellow and purple onion sets
Some types of onion sets can be planted in autumn for an earlier harvest next summer

Spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, alliums, fritillaries, and hyacinths can make for spectacular displays in your garden in spring. Planting them now will ensure that they flower the following season. Onion sets and garlic bulbs should be planted around November for a crop the next summer.

November is an excellent month to sow sweet peas in your greenhouse. They will grow slowly over winter, but timely sowing will ensure an early display of color next year.

Sweet peas growing on a willow wigwam
Get a head start on growing sweet peas by sowing seeds in autumn

Seeds to Sow in November by Zone

What you can sow and plant now will depend on the climatic zone you live in. Most of the UK is in zones 7 to 9. The higher the number, the warmer the climate. The table below indicates what you can sow in November where you live.

Zones 2-5Broad Beans Undercover, Onion Sets undercover
Zone 6Undercover: Broad Bean, Onion Sets, Sweet Peas, Winter Peas
Zones 7-10Spring Bulbs, Garlic, Onion sets, Broad Beans, Sweet Peas, Winter Peas, lettuce, Arugula, Spinach, and Lambs’ Lettuce. Undercover: Pak Choi, Spring Onion
Insulate greenhouse glass with bubble wrap to create a warmer environment inside.
Insulating your greenhouse can help protect the plants growing inside. Image credit: GrowVeg

November Garden Jobs

There are plenty of things we can do for our garden during winter. Now is the time to prepare for winter and spring. If you have plants and seedlings in your greenhouse, add some insulation, such as bubble wrap, to help keep nighttime temperatures above freezing. You might also want to consider building a hotbed to provide a little heat to your greenhouse if you have space.

Be aware of animals hibernating in your garden. Now is not a good time to turn your compost heap as it may be home to several hibernating garden friends.

Woman holding a purple brussels sprouts plant
Support brussels sprouts if needed, and consider protecting them with netting

If you are in one of the cooler regions, lift your dahlia tubers and store them somewhere cool and dry. In warmer areas (zone 9+), you can add a thick layer of mulch to your dahlias and leave them in the ground, providing the soil is not prone to waterlogging.

Your brussels sprouts may need a little support this time of year if they are becoming top-heavy. If pigeons are a problem where you live, it might be time to cover your brassicas with netting to prevent damage.

Bare-root rose plant held by a hand and about to be planted.
Bare-root roses are cheaper than potted plants and are available to order through winter.

Plants for November

November is perfect for planting bare-root roses, fruit trees, and bushes. Planting them now will help them become well-established by spring. Adding fruit trees and bushes to your vegetable garden will give you crops for many years and help cater to your wildlife.

Another great way to add plants to your garden is by dividing perennials and taking cuttings. Lifting and dividing perennials is straightforward once they have died back. Choose perennials that flower in spring and early summer, such as daylilies and peonies, and divide them before the ground is frozen. Regarding division, each plant is slightly different. Some should be treated with care, and others will need a slightly heavier hand. It’s a good idea to check before you lift!

Woman holding a long cut branch of rosemary over the plant it came from.
You can propagate rosemary and other woody herbs in November.

It’s not too late to take cuttings from your woody herbs and shrubs. Take a 4 to 6-inch section with a sharp knife or pair of secateurs for a clean cut. Remove the lower leaves and insert them into some good-quality peat-free seed compost. Keep them warm and damp until they have rooted.

What to Harvest from the Vegetable Garden in November

Our tender fruits and vegetables should have been harvested, stored, or perhaps enjoyed by November. From now on, most of our plants can stay in the garden until we want to eat them. You can also store root vegetables in the ground and harvest them when needed. This is provided you live in zones 8+ and the soil isn’t waterlogged.

Two beets growing in dark soil
In milder areas, root vegetables such as beets can be left in the ground until you’re ready to harvest them.

You can harvest cut and come again kale, chard, and salads when you want to eat them. Keep cabbages, swede, celeriac, and winter radish in the garden to harvest throughout winter. Check on your crops regularly to ensure that they aren’t going over or being eaten by something else.

Cauliflower and Romanesco may be ready in November, depending on when you planted them. Harvest these while the heads are still tight and firm. The heads must be protected from frost by tying up their leaves or covering them with fleece.

Brassica plants protected with netting stretched over metal hoops.
To protect crops from birds I use soft butterfly netting stretched over these metal hoops.

Protecting Crops During Winter

Garden wildlife often struggles to find food by November, so our crops will start to look more appealing to them. You may wish to cover Brassicas to protect them from wildlife. Pigeons are a big concern, and to avoid mice getting them, sow broad beans and peas indoors.

If there are any crops that you can’t tolerate sharing, consider harvesting and storing them. There are plenty of ways we can keep food over winter, including dehydrating, canning, pickling, fermenting, and freezing.

Slices of beet root drying on a rack in a food dehydrator
You can dry fruit and vegetables quickly with a food dehydrator

Continue to collect yellowing leaves from brassicas and salads and try to keep leaves from dragging on the surface of the beds. This will provide fewer opportunities for pests such as slugs that may still be around to climb up onto your crops.

Pruning Fruit Trees and Bushes

You may wish to prune fruit bushes and some fruit trees before spring, especially if your garden is subject to high winds. This November garden job will keep your plants healthy and productive and may stop them from being damaged during winter storms. Just remember to avoid pruning stone-fruit trees such as plum, apricot, or cherry in winter. They can catch diseases and fungal infections such as Silverleaf if pruned in the cold months. Wait for mid-summer to prune stone-fruit trees.

Woman on ladder inspecting an apple tree she is pruning.
Prune apple and pear trees right through the winter on calm, dry days.

Take off any dead or unproductive stems from currants and gooseberry bushes. You can remove up to a third of the old growth to make way for young growth in spring. Wait until the leaves have fallen to start pruning.

You can also prune apple and pear trees in November once the leaves have dropped. Take care to maintain the shape and structure of your tree by creating balance and removing any dead branches. Look for canker on your pear and apple trees and immediately remove and burn any infected material.

If you’ve pruned healthy branches, there are plenty of ways we can use pruned or fallen sticks and twigs in garden projects.

Fresh green growth of new raspberry canes growing in a bed edged in pruned canes from the previous year's raspberries.
Use pruned raspberry canes to create this woven garden edging

Garden Projects for November

We must look after our wildlife during winter, and November is the time when food will start to become less abundant. Set up feeders or hang old sunflower heads to feed your birds. Making fat balls or cookie-cutter seed ornaments is a fun way to pass a rainy afternoon and makes a big difference to your garden birds.

There is also a lot that we can do to help hedgehogs too. Building a hedgehog house can be fun and creative. Hedgehogs need spaces like this to hibernate. Looking after your resident hedgehogs can help balance your garden ecosystem and reduce pest damage.

A row of new raised beds sitting on lawn with a greenhouse behind.
Build raised beds in November and throughout winter

If you want to upgrade your vegetable patch, you may want to build some new beds or planters. If you add this to your November Garden jobs list, you can expand your growing area for next year. Dig out any perennial weeds and add a thick layer of organic matter to the surface to build soil health before spring.

You may also choose to use some of the items from your garden, whether produce, flowers, herbs, seeds, or foliage, to create some Christmas gifts for your friends and family. Craft projects are a thrifty and enjoyable way to use your vegetable garden in November. Homemade gifts are amongst the best gifts for gardeners.

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