lifted bare root dahlia
Gardening jobs for November
November is a pretty miserable time for working in the garden. Strong winds, heavy rain and freezing temperatures, these are all good reasons to stay inside, put a blanket over your legs and huddle over a fresh pot of decent coffee - not the cheap stuff. The trouble is that there is work to be done which if you don't take advantage of unseasonal clement weather can result in the loss of plant stock and leave a bigger mess which will be harder to clean up in the spring. So get your gloves and boots and get started on my chosen gardening jobs for November.

1. As soon as those first frosts appear it will be time to lift and store your dahlias, cannas and tuberous begonias. Only in mild areas can dahlias and cannas be left to overwinter in the ground, but even then the crowns must be covered by a protective layer of straw or bracken. Be aware that by leaving them in the ground there will be a risk of these plants flowering very late the following year. This is due to their exposure to the cold weather. Wherever possible, begonias and dahlias should always be brought in, dried out, and stored for planting the following year.

2. Convert your fallen leaves into a usable leaf mould. Rake up your leaves weekly and store them into large bin liners. When each bag is full, sprinkle inside with water, then give it a good shake and tie off the top. Store in a shady spot and by the following autumn the leaves will have rotted down into a rich, crumbly mixture that can be used as a mulch around the base of your plants. By leaving the leaves to rot down for another year, you will have produced an ideal and natural soil conditioner.

3. With cold weather on its way, insulate your greenhouse using bubble wrap polythene. If available, choose the larger grade as this is specially made for greenhouses. It also contains UV stabilisers which prolongs its life by helping to prevent the plastic from breaking down in daylight. For wooden-framed greenhouses simply pin the polythene to the frame. With aluminium models, use specialised plastic clips that fit into the slots in the metal frame. Consider using lengths of white polystyrene to line inside of the greenhouse hidden under the staging. Not only will this help to retain heat it will also reflects extra light back into the greenhouse. A word of warning though, never use greenhouse heaters next to exposed polystyrene. Not only is it flammable, once alight it can also release poisonous gases.

4. All true alpines originate from mountainous regions high above the treeline. This not only makes them ideally adapted to exposed sites, they are also tolerant of poor soils, and ground that is free draining and extremely cold. However in this country they could do with a little extra protection during our wet seasons, particularly those varieties with woolly or silvery leaves. Try to offer some shelter from the rain, while ensuring good ventilation. Also keep an eye out for alpines plants being smothered by fallen leaves, if left covered your once valuable plants can quickly start to rot.

For related articles click onto the following links:
Gardening Jobs for October
November Jobs

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