IN THE EDIBLE GARDEN
November is all about sowing & planting! This is your main focus for the month, and there’s so much to choose from. Hopefully you’ve done some planning and know what you want to plant, and where you’re going to plant it. Consider your crop rotation plan (you can learn more about how to implement this in your garden here).
Some favourite summer veggies to sow or plant this month are: cucumbers, sweetcorn, watermelons, tomatoes, eggplants, chillies, courgettes, capsicums, beans, beetroot, carrots, celery, parsnips, silverbeet, spinach… we really are spoilt for choice in November!
If you grow them, a priority is getting those longer term crops like kumara and pumpkin in the ground now. Kumara takes between 120-150 days fully mature, and most varieties of pumpkin takes between 90 and 110 days - so get them in now so they’re ready for autumn harvest.
Continue to successively plant those summery salad greens: spring onions, lettuce, radish, rocket, mesclun.
Plant seed potatoes. Keep mounding soil onto new leaves; when you see flowers they are ready to harvest.
Plant passionfruit - ensure it has a sturdy support structure nearby (a trellis or fence etc.) for it to climb as it grows.
Feed your existing berry plants with Balanced Fruits & Berries Fertiliser. In warmer areas of NZ, the first of your berries may be ready to harvest! You can also still get in more strawberries, blueberries, boysenberries, blackberries, and raspberries for some sweet summer spoils.
While you can grow brassicas (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) at this time of year, leaving them off the list this month can be a good way to prevent cabbage butterflies from taking hold.
It’s one of those obvious tips, but we’ll say it anyway: grow what your family likes to eat. It’s easy to get swept away, planting a wide variety of exciting new summer crops. But if space is at a premium in your garden, focus on growing what you know works for your family, introducing 1 or 2 new types of crops to see how they do before committing to a whole garden full of them.
IN THE FLOWER GARDEN
Sow wildflowers, and plant swan plants to keep your local beneficial pollinators happy.
Now is a good time to refresh pond plants - spruce your pond up with some fresh water lilies.
Continue to plant dahlia tubers or cuttings. Plant snapdragon, sweet pea, sunflower, lobelia, gerbera, chrysanthemum, geranium, marigold, petunia, Queen Anne’s Lace, cornflower.
TASKS THIS MONTH...
- Stake your tomatoes, and get some basil in nearby - this can enhance the the flavour. Marigolds are also a great companion plant for tomatoes, and will help to keep pests at bay.
- Maximise space in your garden by utilising vertical structures for beans, cucumbers and courgettes. Use a trellis frame, or create a teepee using bamboo stakes.
- Get your irrigation system set up for summer. Iriso has some great drip feeding options, or invest in a planter that has a built in reservoir (like the Mobile Vege Patch, Urban Oasis Planter, or the Urban Bloomer 48L). Or VegTrug has a Self Watering Kit which can be installed in the Classic Planter.
- Layer some mulch / organic matter around the base of fruit trees and in your veggie garden. This will help to conserve moisture as the days get hotter, and provide nutrients as they break down. Or, plant flowers to create a cheerful ‘living mulch’ - especially beneath plants that require pollination. Cornflower, calendula, and cosmos are some great options for this.
- There should be plenty of material for your compost heap as a result of spring clean up. If you don’t already have a compost pile or bin, now is the perfect time to get one started so none of that organic goodness goes to waste.
- Get in the habit of making daily stroll around your garden to remove / squash any pests you can find. This can be made into a fun activity with kids!