The focus for the November garden is protection. Cold weather has arrived, and tender plants need to be snug in the greenhouse with those too large to move being cloaked in protective fleece. Move containers to shelter against house walls and make sure that any staked plants are nice and secure against wind rock. Use fleece and cloches to protect veg plants such as chard and swede against frost and possible snow.
Continue harvesting autumn crops of kale, spinach, chard, cabbage, leeks and celeriac. Parsnips and Brussel sprouts are best left until they’ve been well and truly frosted as this will sweeten them. Any remaining root vegetables such as carrots and beetroot need to be lifted and stored before the soil becomes waterlogged or frozen.
November is a pause between autumn colours and the onslaught of Christmas. Let’s hope for frosty mornings and some clear blue-sky days.
If there’s ice in November that will bear a duck,
There’ll be nothing after but sludge and muck.
~English folk-lore rhyme, first printed c.1876
Jobs to do in November
- If you haven’t already done so then November is your last chance to enter our competition to win a trip for 2 to visit Dutch bulb fields. For details visit www.Dobies.co.uk/Keukenhof
- In milder areas broad beans can be sown for a nice early 2020 crop.
- Sow some herbs to grow on windowsills, you’ll need them to flavour all that scrumptious comfort food! Pop some mint in a pot and bring it indoors as the outside plants will soon go to sleep.
- Salad leaves can also be sown now. In fact, sow every 3 weeks throughout the year and you’ll never again need to buy salad leaves. At this time of year try Dobies Winter Mix.
- Early in the month is still not too late to sow sweet peas in root trainers or other deep pots. The result will be strong plants bearing early blooms.
- Continue raking up fallen leaves and turn them into valuable leaf mould. It is a superb soil conditioner and makes great potting compost. And it’s free!
- Soft fruit, including rhubarb, can be planted now. Choose an open, sunny spot and dig in plenty of garden compost.
- Secure grease bands around fruit trees to fend off the winter moth.
- A wet November day is the perfect time to give pots and seed trays a good clean ready for next season’s sowings.
- Depending on where you live your dahlias may or may not still be flowering. Once they stop do wait for the first frost to blacken the stems before cutting down and lifting. Or not lifting! Visit our blog for dahlia advice.
From Plot to Plate
Not the most attractive of vegetables, but what it lacks in looks celeriac makes up for in its rich nutty flavour. Celeriac needs a long growing season. Seeds sown in March and planted out in May will be ready for harvest from October through to December, making it a very useful veg when others are in short supply.
Stored in the bottom of the fridge, celeriac will keep for several weeks but its best left in the ground until needed. Just protect from frost with fleece or straw.
Preparing celeriac can be a challenge as the skin tends to be knobbly and uneven. A sharp knife works better than a vegetable peeler, so don’t worry if this leads to wastage, the trimmings are good in stock.
One of the easiest ways to use celeriac is in a mash with potato. Celeriac cooks faster than potato so is best cooked separately but once soft simply smash the two up together. You’ll then have a delicious smoky-flavoured mash, perfect for game, winter stews and pies. For a change, add some cooked apple and double cream to the mash and then serve with pork.
Other ways to use celeriac include roasting chunks in hot oil with chopped sage, turning it into soup with onion, leek and blue cheese or deep-frying shavings to make flavoursome crisps. Alternatively, cut your celeriac into batons and enjoy it raw, either added to salads or used as crudités alongside your favourite dip.
Celeriac gets on well with:
Apple Pear Lemon Cream Creme Fraiche
Mayo Game Pork Ham Salmon
Parsley Sage Rosemary Pepper Paprika
Onion Celery Potato Blue Cheese Cheddar
Sorry but there’s no getting away from it, Christmas is just around the corner. If the thought of queuing for parking, wandering around shops in the wet and cold and being jostled by other equally reluctant shoppers doesn’t appeal then there is another option. Make a pot of tea and settle in front of the fire with the Dobies 2019 Gift Catalogue. We’ve a wide range of gifts, including unusual items for that “oh so difficult to buy for” loved one. And we’ll deliver direct to your door.
The catalogue will be available from 7th November. If you don’t receive one automatically then order a free copy here.
If you’re lucky then you will have had a hedgehog in the garden this summer, happily munching away on slugs and snails and generally providing you with free and attractive pest control. For several reasons hedgehog numbers are in serious decline but there is much that we gardeners can do to help.
- Cut a small hole at the bottom of your garden fence, creating an entry and exit point for a foraging hog.
- Stop using pesticides and slug pellets. These are lethal not only to hedgehogs but also to other wildlife.
- Put a ramp in your garden pond or create a stony beach at one end so a hedgehog can climb out should it fall in. Leaving out a dish of fresh clean water will prevent the hedgehog from needing to attempt a risky drink from your pond.
- Prior to lighting any bonfire please always check first for snoozing hedgehogs.
Depending on the weather hedgehogs normally hibernate from now until March or April so will appreciate somewhere snug to nest. Create a log or leaf pile or even better, invest in a hedgehog house. Now there’s a good idea for a Christmas present!
Rob Smith’s Heritage Veg
Heritage veg enthusiast, seed guardian and Dobies Horti expert Rob Smith has many exciting varieties in his range for 2020.
To give you just a taste:
- Broad Bean Crimson Flowered – dating back to the 1700s and saved from extinction in 1978, this variety produces not only delicious beans but also orchid-like fragrant flowers.
- Dwarf French Bean Red Swan – pink flowers followed by rosy-red/purple pods that are both stringless and succulent.
- Cucumber Dar – small cucumbers perfect for salads, sandwiches, pickling or for just munching whilst pottering in the garden.
- Squash Queensland Blue – turban shaped squash with a sweet treacle-like flavour.
- Sweet Corn Stowell’s Evergreen – one of the oldest sweet corns still in existence, the sweet, creamy-white cobs can be stored all through winter.
- Brussels Sprout Red Rubine – fancy serving red sprouts on Christmas Day 2020? With a nutty flavour, these sprouts taste as good as they look and keep their fabulous colour when cooked.
Offer of the Month
Winter/Spring Bedding Plants – Lucky Dip
18 x 9cm potted plants for £20
It’s hard for us to grow exactly the right number of plants that we need each season and we sometimes grow too many. You can take advantage of this by buying a ‘Lucky Dip‘ at a fraction of the normal cost!
Your 18 x 9cm plants will be select by us from our outstanding range, so that you can create spectacular displays in hanging baskets and patio containers! Find out more.
Note: image is for illustration purposes only.