November allotment garden
Last revised: 15 April 2018
Seasonal reminders, hints and tips.
- Carrot, beetroot and parsnip
- Cabbage whitefly
- Cabbage white moth and butterfly
- Broad beans
- Fruit bushes
- Vegetable and fruit stores
- Replenish the ground
Carrot, beetroot and parsnip
These crops can remain in the ground for a long time, until you wish to pick them. Beyond December, they will begin to harden, rot or stuck in wet soil.
Visit and pick often, thinning out and weeding as you go.
If you are overwintering brassica, like winter cabbage or Brussels sprouts, check them over for cabbage whitefly. Cabbage whitefly is a sap-feeding insect that can infest cabbage and all other types of brassica. It can be a particular problem on kale.
A simple shake of the plant will produce a cloud of small white flies, which will immediately return to the plant or one nearby. Look underneath leaves for small white fly and scale-like insects.
If you are not eating the plant within next 3 weeks, use a pesticide, covering the leaves underneath.
An alternate, that must be repeated regularly, is a pressure spray of water to blast them off. Then quickly soak the ground where they fell with water.
Cabbage white moth and butterfly
Cabbages and other brassicas can be extensively holed by caterpillar feeding by the end of summer, hibernating in plants through autumn and winter.
Inspect plants regularly and pick off the pale yellow butterfly eggs, white spherical moth eggs and caterpillars when seen.
Follow instructions carefully if spraying a pesticide.
It is not too late to sow broad beans for a crop in late May. The brief frosts in our region do not usually give significant damage, but pigeons do. A net cover will provide protection. Return regularly to check it is still in place.
Successive sowing of lettuce through the summer will likely still be maturing. At this time of year a fleece or fine netting cover will benefit by keeping away frost and provide a slightly warmer environment.
Plant garlic at twice depth of the bulb and at least 15cm apart in well composted soil. Some people suggest 20cm to lessen disease transfer. Choose an area free of weeds and unlikely to be excessively wet during winter and spring.
Planting at this time of year allows cold weather to promote dividing the clove (bulb).
An alternate approach is planting in pots, keeping outdoors until ready to plant in the ground during April and May.
Bare rooted bushes are usually on sale at this time of year, cuttings are ready to be planted, or plants moved to new location. Plant out bare rooted stock without delay, as the roots will quickly dry out.
Ensure the plant has room to grow. For most fruit bushes, like currents and berries, will grow to one metre diameter in 4 to 5 years.
Allow at least one metre from path edge to allow people to pass without pinching the crop, or being caught by thorns and branches.
Prepare a hole about 50cm wide and 20 to 30cm deep, or twice the width of the roots. Lightly fork the soil in base of hole and water well. Add in a layer of well rotted compost, mixed with soil. Spread roots of plants into the hole, covering them with soil and compost, pressing down firmly. If the plant is a grafted variety, ensure the join remains above the filled in surface. Sprinkle blood, fish and bone or general fertiliser around the plant and water in with a good soak.
Plants like the blueberry prefer ericaceous soil. The best method is using a large container, 30 litre or larger, filled with ericaceous compost or a very high proportion. The potted plant can then be buried into the ground, at least halfway. In autumn provide a topping of ericaceous compost by scraping away a top layer, or give an ericaceous liquid feed.
Vegetable and fruit stores
Check over any stored fruit and vegetable for insects, slugs, snails, disease, signs of rot, or damp. Do so regularly. One bad (apple) will spoil the bin.
Hoeing off tops of annual weeds is quick and easy way to prepare ground for next year, and not a waste of time. All weeds will become dormant over winter, but any chance of slightly warmer conditions will encourage them to become better established.
The perennial weeds like dock, trailing buttercup and dandelion, are deep rooted and spend winter growing deeper in readiness to grow leaf during early spring. Dig these up, taking the whole root away.
Replenish the ground
Dig in or spread any available compost, manure or mulch to improve soil structure and prepare specific areas for next years crops.