Our November garden guide will tell you what you need to do in your garden this time of year, depending on which climate zone you’re in.
Here’s our November garden guide for a mediterranean climate…
Zone 0: Spring cleaning is largely over, and yielded great opportunities to share no-longer-needed items with the community, as well as providing loads of carbon-rich compost material (ie. paperwork!).
Zone 1: Tomato and capsicum seedlings are in raised garden beds. Some extra tomato seed and basil seed is in with them. The tomatoes have a temporary mesh “fence” to grow on, while in the adjacent bed I’ve used the same approach for climbing beans. As this bed faces north-west and cops the worst of the summer sun, the scarlet runners are intended to climb up and give the rest of the bed a bit of afternoon shade.
Salad greens will have their summer in the vertical garden under shadecloth, with only a few hours of sun, and with plenty of established plants around them to keep the humidity up.
Zone 2: Pumpkins, zucchini, button squash and melons are ready to be planted out in the “sprawling” part of the garden, where they can’t smother other vegies but can gain a bit of afternoon shade from fruit trees.
Worms may need to be shifted to avoid hot sun as it sneaks through in places it couldn’t reach during winter. Mulch needs topping up, and irrigation systems need checking and flushing to be in prime working order for summer – and especially for holiday absences.
Zone 3: Mulberry, pear and apple trees are now putting on new growth. “Rocks in socks” have been refilled and rearranged, weighing down apple branches in order to maximise the growth of new fruiting spurs.
Espaliered trees have also been tip pruned and need some new wires to train their whippy stems towards the horizontal. Leaf curl has only been a real concern on one of the stone fruit trees, and it’s still carrying quite a load of fruit while regrowing much of its foliage, so these fruit may need to be thinned.
A peach tree in the nearby child care centre’s garden was smothered in aphids, which attracted the biggest crop of ladybird nymphs I’ve ever seen – two weeks of solid munching and the aphids are just about history, while the tree is still going strong.
Zone 4: Rampant native ground covers and shrubs, trimmed from the road verge and finely chopped, plus paper from spring cleaning of the house and sheds plus a spring racing-fed manure bonanza equals potent, speedy compost advertising itself to all the dogs passing by! When mature, this will go back to zones 1, 2 and 3 as the vegies get hungry.
Here’s our November garden guide for a tropical climate…
Zone 0: November is the time to harvest the dry season growth and preserve it for the coming wet season. I am still harvesting and storing tomatoes by the bucket load. Sweet corn can be harvested when the silks are properly brown. The intact cobs can be stored in the freezer as soon as they are harvested.
Zone 1: There have been a few caterpillars and grasshoppers which the chooks appreciate otherwise it is the same as last month – planting and harvesting the salad greens.
This is the toughest time of the year in the tropical garden as November is sometimes a heatwave and this year might be the same. The sun is not as fierce once there are some clouds and rain. Check the worm farm and give it a boost and plenty of water as this is a very dry time of year. I use duckweed to feed the worms and they thrive.
Zone 2: Harvest the last of the carrots and radishes. I cleared the area including the self-sown very productive pumpkin.
I lightly dug over the area and incorporated some lime and the mulch. I then replaced the drip irrigation system as I had pierced it in many places with the fork. I broadcast the soy beans over the area and raked them in. I planted them near the house as they need watering and weeding. They are not a robust crop and need the attentions of a zone 2 plant. Later on I will add some fertiliser high in potash probably poultry manure. They are interplanted with the salad greens.
Zone 3: The Wampi Plum and the water apple are flowering and fruiting this month. The gingers are starting to come up for the wet season. The flowering display from the Temulawak continues.
I mass planted sunflowers and they are now drooping with heavy heads of seeds that the birds are harvesting at will. In the same area I planted amaranth and fat hen also as poultry feed.
Zone 4: Fruit trees can be espaliered along the fence line and now is a good time to get them established before the heavy rain starts.
Zone 5: The plants in the verge may need a little watering and weeding to keep them going till the rain starts.
Warm temperature climate
Here’s our November garden guide for a warm temperate climate…
Spring is bounding, the harvest is abundant, the wild birds are fat and jolly and cycles are spinning.
Zone 0: We can have fresh herbs for teas once again and the dried leaves are nearly all used up. The rooms are full of flowers and flowers are on the menu. They make stunning and quick cake decorations.
Zone 1: Now your piles of sticks used as protection over the seedlings from wandering chickens also provides sun-protection.
Mollison stressed that plants in the burning sun are simply trying to survive and then they grow in the cool of the afternoon. Three years ago we had our first heat wave with temperatures over 40c. The grapes that hung in the sun quickly shriveled but the grapes that were seated under leaves survived and lived on to ripen later in the month.
The permaculture designs can build shade over the paths, optimising the good air flow and solar access.
Zone 2: The chicks are fattening up. We are still careful to keep lots of shallow dishes of water dotted around the garden. The chickens need overhead protection in the hot sun and from eagles and predators.
The red-bellied snakes are maddening. We have discovered a good snake deterer that keeps the snakes from the door and play areas for little children. The flying foxes are turning the mulberry trees into a midnight circus.
The frogs have reappeared whenever it rains they are calling. The water dragons are quietly sitting under the mulberry trees waiting for the berries to fall.
Zone 3: The easiest food to grow here would be choko. We can eat the choko sprouts, and the choko, when eaten when it is small and plump not giant and woody, is actually really yummy. Simply slice and fry with honey and soy with lots of other fresh vegies from the garden.
Sweet potato has great leaves, is wonderful living mulch (it doesn’t need replenishing). If you have weeds in the garden it is getting too hot to try and dig it out but it is a great time to use piles of hot compost to burn them down (make sure you protect the trunks of you favourite trees by keeping the piles away from them; radiant heat will cook the plants quickly.)
Liquid manure is a very efficient use of “weeds”. Some weeds can provide food for your worm farms.
Zone 4: Homegrown mulch is a valuable resource. “Chop and drop” mulching can be highly efficient. We can move the pruned branches to where we want to mulch with them, then chop them up right. When we chop them up with long arm cutters we will not need to bend over and the pile will flatten well. The branches will get low to the ground and will rot. We can cover these sticks with compost and form hugelkultur. Avoid piling big, airy stick piles as these can become a fire hazard.
Zone 5: Patrolling the fences regularly, we check that the geese can’t escape when the spring makes them active searching for partners. The fences are also knocked down by local deer or weighed down by vines.
The maze of solar powered electric fencing needs daily checking. Young seedlings in the wild zone may need mulch and protection from animals. We let the stinging nettle grow around the young plants as a natural defense and a yummy herbal tea.