Gardening Jobs in November

Gardening Jobs in November

What gardening jobs are there to do in November?

By the beginning of November, the gardening season is coming to a close. The leaves are coming off the trees, flowers have long gone, and everything seems to be going into hibernation.

But that does not mean that there is nothing left to do in the garden!

 

Planting

Late fall is the time to plant bulbs for spring flowers. You will be delighted when the first dots of colour appear in the spring, and the bees will love you for a welcome source of nectar early in the year. It is also time to plant perennials, shrubs and naked-root fruit trees.

 

Sowing

As for veggies, it’s now or never for planting garlic, shallots, and onion sets, before it gets too cold.

You can also still sow some hardy crops, but make sure to select winter-hardy varieties!

Of course, your climate zone determines what you can grow. So, check your growing zone, and use your own judgement – you know your micro-climate best!

In growing zone 7/8, likely candidates are salad greens, Asian mustards, and maybe even radishes.

Broad beans and peas, as well as hardy spring onions, are also good contenders.

The most impatient gardeners even start sowing certain long season crops like chillies at this time. But, that is only recommended if you have the space on a warm windowsill or in a frost-free greenhouse.

If you are not growing anything during the winter, treat your empty beds to a crop of green manure. These can be cut and dug under in the spring, to replenish the nutrients in the soil.

Harvest

If you have followed a well-spaced growing plan, you will still have fresh vegetables to harvest. Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celeriac and carrots are still in season. Leek and kale will soon be ready.

Don’t forget to cover the Brassicas to protect them from hungry mice and birds!

 

Tidying up

Traditionally, gardeners get their scissors out and start snipping off the dead foliage and wilted bloom once summer is over. But, if you value the wildlife in your garden, don’t do it! This apparently dead foliage is where the caterpillars attach themselves and spin themselves into a chrysalis to over-winter and transform into butterflies.

And, some of those dead stalks still have a cache of seeds that the birds will appreciate.

But, do rake up the leaves and compost them, or use them as mulch on your beds. They provide excellent nutrients to nourish your plants next year.

 

Cutting back

Cut the dead canes of autumn fruiting raspberries and dead or old branches of black currents and similar berry bushes.

 

Grafting

If you have trees that need grafting, now is the time to take hardwood cuttings so you can graft the trees early in the coming season. The cuttings must be over-wintered in a cool, dark place (fridge or cold basement) to keep the buds dormant until you are ready to use them.

 

Wildlife

It is now getting more difficult for the animals to find enough food to get them through the winter – especially for the birds. Fill your feeders with seeds and nuts or, make some fat-based seed cake

And, don’t forget, birds and hedgehogs that are not yet hibernating also still require fresh, clean water.

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Gardening Jobs in October

Gardening Jobs in October

Gardening Jobs in October

The summer is over, and the garden is beginning to wind down. But there are still quite a lot of gardening jobs left to do in October.

 

Harvesting

To begin with, you are probably still harvesting the last of your summer crops. Pumpkins, courgettes, potatoes and late runner beans, beetroots, carrots, and broccoli are still in season.

Any tomatoes that did not turn red yet don’t have to go to waste. Bring them inside and place them into a bowl with an apple or two. Cover them with a towel, and they will soon ripen.

 

Sowing & planting

A cold frame is a perfect place to give your peas and winter hardy broad beans an early start. Asian salad mixes and spinach make excellent winter crops that will bring an extra dash of fresh green to the dinner table.

To rejuvenate mature perennials, especially spring-flowering ones, October/November is the time to divide their roots and replant these to propagate more plants.

 

Plant spring bulbs

Nothing announces the approach of spring more beautifully than watching early spring flowers emerge. Daffodils, hyacinth, alliums, tulips and crocus are great for spreading some spring cheer. These heralds of spring have bulbs, which can be planted now, ready to bloom in the spring.

 

Protect sensitive plants

Bring frost-sensitive plants inside now. Some plants are not easy to overwinter indoors, as it is often too warm for them. A frost-free place that gets some sun is best.

Plants that overwinter outside appreciate a thick layer of leaf mulch.

 

Improving the soil

Now the vegetable beds are pretty much empty, seize the opportunity to feed the soil. Spread a good layer of well-rotted manure on top – you don’t even have to dig it in. The worms and micro-organisms will do that job for you. Or, you can sow a green manure crop such as clover that fixes nitrogen in the soil.

 

Gardening for wildlife

The wildlife is beginning to prepare for winter. Those that hibernate are looking for a cosy, warm spot for the dark season. But before they go to sleep, they are also looking for food to assimilate some reserves that will sustain them.

Gardeners are often a bit obsessed with making their gardens look neat. But the wildlife does not appreciate those efforts. The little critters would prefer if the windfall fruits were left on the ground and the dead stalks of the perennials, many of which still offer plenty of seeds, would be left standing.

You can help wildlife by creating suitable habitats for them by not being overly tidy. Insects, amphibians and small animals such as hedgehogs appreciate wood piles constructed of different kinds of logs and twigs with plenty of nooks where they can find shelter.

Birds don’t hibernate. To survive the winter, they need a high-fat diet. See how you can make a simple birdseed feeder.

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Gardening Jobs in September

Gardening Jobs in September

Summer is coming to an end, but that does not mean the end of the gardening season. Quite the opposite! It is time to harvest the fruits of your labour! Zucchinis, pumpkins, tomatoes, beans, potatoes and chillies – there is a glut of veggies to harvest now. Often, far more than anyone can eat. To make the most of the harvest, preserve it now for the lean times ahead.
Check out how to preserve the harvest 

Extending the season

If you want to extend the season to still harvest some fresh veggies until at least the early part of the winter, you should now sow some winter crops.

Salad ingredients

It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to harvest fresh greens even as nature is winding down and retreating for her winter sleep. You can now sow Miner’s lettuce, Lamb’s Lettuce, Asia salad mix, and cress, and radishes.

Veggies for overwintering

Some veggies also appreciate the early start and can continue to grow through the winter.
Spinach, winter peas, broad beans, winter carrots, and if you live in a mild climate, Swiss chard, can all be sown now. But check the varieties – there are always early and late ones and ones that are winter hardy. That is what you want to sow now. You can also plant onion sets now. They will be ready to harvest in July.

In situ or under glass

If you don’t yet have enough space in your plots, you can start the winter crops indoors or in the cold frame.

Propagating

Now is also the time to take cuttings, so you can propagate your perennials and bushes. Take cuttings from this year’s growth that have not become woody yet. They work best if dipped in rooting hormones before planting them into pots. Mix the soil with perlite or similar to improve the drainage.

Happy gardening!

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

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What Gardening Jobs are there to do in August?

What Gardening Jobs are there to do in August?

August is a fabulous time for all gardeners! The explosion of colour, scent and texture is a fiesta for the senses. But above all, allotment gardeners love this time of the year. Harvest is finally here. Finally, all the hard work from the spring is paying off.

 

Harvesting

Just what you will harvest now depends on what you sowed earlier. I tried to grow carrots this year (again). Alas, to no avail. I don’t know what it is about me and carrots, but I have never managed to grow them – except a stray one that is volunteering among the Basil, in one of my balcony planters. If you had better luck, you are probably feasting on them right now.

Fortunately, my other crops are doing fine. There are runner beans and courgettes to pick, almost daily. Peas are over, but the tomatoes are now kicking in.

Perhaps you are picking cucumbers and early potatoes, as well as onions and shallots. The beetroots are swelling here, but yours might be ready to pick. Spinach is now past its best, but Swiss chard picks up the slack. I love the colourful varieties best, although they all make excellent and versatile summer greens.

 

Sowing winter vegetables

You might find that picking and processing all those fantastic summer veggies is enough of a job, and nothing could be further from your mind than winter’s approach. But, beware, it’s August, and before long, summer will be over. So, now is the time to start thinking about late crops and veggies you would like to overwinter.

In milder climates, it is well possible to extend the season to the end of October. The cabbages are particularly hardy. If you started some earlier, you can now plant them out into their permanent positions. You can even still sow some: kohlrabi or turnip and some spring cabbages (check your seed package). Cabbages are particularly popular with bugs and caterpillars, so you might want to protect young seedlings with a fine-meshed cloth. Plant the seedlings out once they have developed 5-6 true leaves. Remember that they will grow big, so give them plenty of space. They also need a sunny spot and do best in a bed that had a different crop in it the previous year (no brassicas!)

I have not had much luck with cabbages. The caterpillars and whiteflies always get the better of them. I prefer growing Asian salad greens, which are easy, prolific and not as vulnerable to bugs. They are hardy, too. Alternatively, spinach and corn salad will also provide welcome winter greens when little else is available.

 

Salad ingredients

Some fast-maturing crops can also now be sown again, such as Rocket, Mustard greens, and Radishes. Spring onions can also be sown in late August, but won’t be ready to pick until the following spring.

 

Watering

Make sure you water regularly and deeply. A little sprinkle does not reach the deeper roots. Instead, it encourages superficial root growth close to the surface. Mulch well to keep the moisture in the soil. Feed with compost or diluted liquid manure.

 

Wildlife

Don’t deadhead all the flowers just yet. The birds are looking for food! They also appreciate a source of clean water for a drink or a bath. The hedgehogs will make use of it, too. Bushes with berries, such as Cotoneaster or Hawthorn, are popular bird food. Starlings and blackbirds just love them!

For ideas as to how to preserve your harvest, check out:  Preserving the harvest 1

or if you prefer a more spirited way to make the most of excess fruits and such:  Preserving the harvest 2

 

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies!

 

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

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Gardening Jobs in July

Gardening Jobs in July

What gardening jobs are there to do in July?

This is the time of the year that every gardener is waiting for! The garden is in its prime. Everything is growing, flowering and fruiting. It is a sheer joy to be out there, enjoying nature’s bounty.

July is a time of plenty. Early crops are beginning to ripen, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labour. But it is also a time to think ahead to the dark season and the crops you’d like to harvest then – they need to be sown and started now. There are plenty of gardening jobs to be done in July!

 

HARVEST:

Continue to harvest lettuce and radishes as well as beets, peas and courgettes. If you have long-season or perpetual raspberries and strawberries, they are still fruiting now. As are cherries!

Onions and garlic are beginning to topple over, which is the sign that they are getting ready, but wait until the onion tops turn yellow before lifting them. Then, either leave them on the ground or, better, spread them in a well-aerated box or basket to dry them well.

Early runner beans and potatoes are also getting ready.

 

Harvesting herbs

Now is the prime time to harvest herbs. For culinary purposes, it is best to pick herbs before they begin to flower. Choose a dry, sunny day. Spread them out in a well-aerated place. Hanging them up in bunches actually encourages mould. Herbs often have a high content of volatile oil, which quickly ‘fly off’ in hot temperatures. Thus, it is best to dry them in the shade.

 

SOWING (for late season/winter harvest):

Now is the time to sow winter cabbages, kohlrabi and kale, mustards, and pak choi. If you have carrot seeds of late varieties, sow them now.

If you have a shady spot, you can continue to sow lettuce, chard, endive, chicory, chervil, radishes, coriander, as well as rocket and spinach. Keep them well watered and not in full sun to prevent them from bolting too quickly.

 

TOMATO CARE

Tomatoes need a lot of water. Keep the moisture in the soil by spreading a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plants. If they don’t get enough water, the skins turn harder and will crack as the fruit develops. The best time to water is in the evening or early morning. Avoid splashing water directly on the leaves.

You can give your plants a little boost by putting some compost around the base. Or, use liquid manure, such as nettle manure, or some other organic tomato feed that you might find at the garden centre.

Watch out for blight and end rot. Remove yellowing leaves. Pinch out any shoots that develop in the leaf axils.

 

WATERING

Water your plants as needed, neither too much nor too little. Container plants are particularly vulnerable to drying out and need the most attention. Mulch well to keep the moisture in the soil.

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies!

 

Happy Gardening!

 

Image by Cornell Frühauf from Pixabay

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases on Amazon and other affiliate sites.

Gardening Jobs in June

Gardening Jobs in June

There are plenty of gardening jobs to do in June!

If you thought that now the growing season is in full swing you can kick back and relax, you are mistaken. June is a rather busy month in the garden, especially if you want to continue harvesting veggies in the fall and winter.

 

But first things first:

Slugs and snails are very hungry at this time of the year. You will have to beat them to it if you want some of those veggies for yourself. Regular slug hunts at dusk and dawn are the most effective way to keep them at bay.

To keep the soil cool and prevent it from drying out, mulch all around your plants, especially around thirsty ones such as tomatoes and zucchinis. Mulching also helps to control the slugs.

Water regularly, but not excessively.

By now, your tomatoes should be in the ground. Gently tie them to their support and pinch out the side shoots.

On hot days, make sure you don’t forget to ventilate the tunnel or greenhouse.

Harvest herbs, such as savoury, oregano and lemon balm before they begin to flower.

 

Sowing:

Hurray, it is finally warm enough to sow Basil and Coriander!

You are probably already harvesting lettuce, rocket and radishes, and maybe even snow peas. For successive crops, continue sowing them until the end of July.

You can sow beans now, but protect them well against slugs – they love the young shoots!

If your season is long enough and the climate reasonably mild, you still have a chance to sow courgettes and pumpkins -but hurry up, it is getting late! Young plants can be planted into their permanent position now.

Autumn/winter veggies like autumn leeks and brassicas like kales and cabbage can be sown until the middle of June.

The middle of June is the end of rhubarb and asparagus harvesting time.

 

Wildlife

Don’t forget the animals at this time of the year – they really appreciate a source of clean cool water and some seeds or fruit.

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies.

 

Happy Gardening!

 

Image by Krzysztof Niewolny from Pixabay

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases on Amazon and other affiliate sites.

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