Hints & Tips
The first chill winds have finally begun to blow across the UK, heralding the arrival of more wintry weather as we begin the month of November.
It's certainly overdue, as temperatures have remained above average during September and October. However, now that colder conditions are finally here, you'll need to start preparing your garden for the winter.
During November, you should keep up the maintenance tasks you started in October. Make sure you keep on top of fallen leaves, clearing them away from ponds, lawns and beds using a rake or leaf-blower.
This month is the perfect time for bonfires, of course, so any fallen debris and waste that can't be used for composting can be disposed of in this way – as long as you've got the space for one and they're permitted in your area.
Prepare your soil for next year by digging any beds that will lie bare over the winter, incorporating as much organic matter as you can. Add a layer of organic matter to the surface and turn it over in spadefuls, burying it just beneath the surface.
You should also raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging and insulate outdoor containers to stop them from being damaged by frost.
Hessian or bubble wrap can be used to do this – simply wrap it around the outside and tie in place using garden twine. Make sure the top of the plant is left uncovered so you can carry on watering it.
Now is a good time to start pruning your roses to prevent them sustaining damage, or 'wind-rock' during the winter.
Make cuts no more than 5 mm above a bud and ensure they slope away from it, so that water does not collect on the bud.
You should also take steps to protect your trees from being damaged by winter moths, as they will begin to emerge this month.
Placing grease bands around fruit trees such as apple, pear, plum and cherry, as well as ornamental deciduous varieties, will guard against this pest. They should be placed on trunks and tree stakes about 45 cm above soil level.
If you haven't already done so, you should get to work cleaning out your greenhouse for the winter. A thorough tidy will eliminate any pests, preventing them from hibernating there and causing problems in the summer.
Encourage winter birds to come into your garden by leaving out food to help them survive the cold conditions. Peanuts, black sunflower seeds and other bird seed mixtures are ideal choices.
If you haven't already done so, consider planting tulip bulbs now.They should be planted at least twice the bulb's width apart and at a depth of two or three times the bulb's height.
Winter bedding plants, such as pansies, violas and primrose, can also be planted at this time so they're ready to flower in the spring. Water them regularly when they're newly planted.