November in the garden

What to do this month, with David Williams

…The Month to plant out your tulips…


This month the leaves will be falling thick and fast so sweeping them up will become a daily job to ensure that they don’t get too thick on the ground. Remember that all of the leaves you pick up will make great leaf mold that you will be able to use throughout the garden next year. This really is one of the best types of composts. It is essential that you turn your leaf mold at least a couple of times a year.

November is the best month to plant out your tulips. It is best to plant these at twice the depth of the bulb if you are on clay soil or if your soil does not drain freely. Make sure you put an inch or two of horticultural grit at the bottom of the hole to add some drainage Tulips are great planted on mass or just dotted through your borders.

It is still not too late to plant out other bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths. They will just flower a bit later which can be an advantage as it will extend the season.

If you have any dahlias in the garden it is advised that you start lifting them to store them over winter. Cut them down to about 6inch (15cm) then dig them out of the ground and lay them on the greenhouse bench to dry out. Once dry remove all the excess soil and pack into boxes of dry compost or wood shavings and store in a cool, dry, frost free place remembering to label what they are.

Now is the best time to order all your bare root plants. Bare root basically means a plant that has been grown in a field rather than a pot. Rose’s and hedging are the most popular plants to be bought bare root but fruit, shrubs, trees even perennials can all be bought bare root. Whatever you buy however, make sure you plant them out as soon as possible after taking delivery. You never want to let the roots dry out so keep them moist.

November is also a great time to plant out garlic bulbs. Plant them about 3-5cm deep and 15cm apart in well prepared soil. A good new variety of garlic is ‘Bohemian Rose’. It comes from north of Bohemia near to Prague. This garlic offers light purple cloves and leaves that can grow up to 1m tall. The bulbs also have a good flavour too.

If you want really early broad beans and peas then you can also plant them now. Although if you are on soil that becomes water logged over the winter it is worth waiting until the spring or start them off in pots instead. The two varieties’ I grow every year with good results are pea ‘Douce Provence’ and broad bean ‘The Sutton’ they are available from most good seed suppliers.

Gardening Book of the Month

Hidden Histories A Spotters Guide to The British Landscape

This is a great  book by Mary-Ann Ochota and published by Frances Lincoln. Have you ever been driving through the countryside and wondered what the strange mounds are or why the road is so straight in some parts of the country? With this new spotters guide you will be able to answer all of these questions and more. This is a great book to keep in the car ready for all those family days out and holidays. It is packed full of great illustrations that bring the books text to life. ISBN: 9780711236929