To Do In The Northwest Edible Garden: November 2011

Plan & Purchase:
November in the garden is – blessedly – slow. After a big push of preserving and harvesting, November only asks for only a little clean up and mulch while waiting for the gardener to harvest as she likes. The biggest deal in November is first frost and wind – so this is a great time to make sure your cloches are hardy enough to stand up to the occasional gale while buying your veggies a few degrees cold protection.

In the Seattle area first frost usually occurs in November. Depending who you ask, the average is anywhere from November 2 to November 17th. In any event, the hard frost date will vary so much year to year that the best you can do is keep an eye on the temperature and the forecast and have your cloches and deep mulch in place.

You can place your bare root fruit trees and shrub order this month, or if a local nursery is carrying the varieties you want, go ahead and plant!

It’s not too late to put up cloches, deep mulch beds or cover fallow ground with plastic to protect it from winter rains.

Plant Outside:

  • Bare root trees and perennial shrubs.
  • Divide and replant perennials like rhubarb, cane fruit, and strawberries.
  • Early spring greens. I would still throw some spinach, mustard or kale seed under a cloched bed as late as early November with an eye towards early greens next spring. If you are in a slightly warmer climate (I’m looking at you, Oregon and Northern California) I’d push it with carrots, beets, and lettuce, too. There’s no guarantee this late, but if you end up with carrots in early April, won’t you be glad you took the risk?

Harvest:

  • Beets – rather than pickle and jar beets, I prefer to roast them fresh and dress them with vinegar if I want that pickled flavor. I’m going to deep straw mulch my existing rows shortly to help get the roots through November freezes.
  • Broccoli – I’ve blown through my fall broccoli but my neighbor is still enjoying hers from a slightly later planting.
  • Cabbage – harvesting cabbage weekly.
  • Carrots – minimal rust fly damage.
  • Chard – cloched. I’m prepared to harvest and freeze the entire bed at the first hint of a prolonged hard freeze.
  • Eggs – our seven chickens give between 3-5 eggs a day. During the longer days of summer we were seeing 5-7 eggs a day, so they are slowing down, but still productive enough for our family.
  • Onions & garlic – from storage.
  • Potatoes – my late planting of market taters are sized up and yielding few but huge tubers.
  • Turnips – excellent braised with pork and cabbage!
  • Winter Squash – from storage now.
  • Jerusalem Artichokes – the invasive weed that just keeps on giving.

Fruit:

  • Apples – Still have a few hanging late on the trees.
  • Raspberries – still a few golden raspberries hanging around. Those gems just won’t quit. They give more of a “gardener snack” than a harvest at this point, but a few sweet tastes as I brave the bluster of November is much appreciated.
How’s your November garden? Are you happy to have put the beds to bed?

Comments

  1. In Montana, we harvested a majority of our carrots yesterday — the last crop to come out of the ground. We will leave some under straw to harvest on a warm late winter/early spring day. The big vegetable garden is tilled and put to bed. Herb gardens have had some frost, but are still giving us parsley and sage. Fennel is hanging in the cold room and the aroma is intoxicating. 200 pounds of potatoes should see even our Irish family through the bulk of winter. The hanging tomatoes in the cold room continue to give us about 10 pounds every couple of weeks.

  2. Our harvest is done, the garden is covered with about 1 foot of shredded maple leaves, threw in a bunch of wood ash and it is soon to be covered with snow. The herb pots are in until May. We don't overwinter anything, extend season etc. Just have to keep a path tramped down to the compost pile.

    The dining table is covered with about 10 trays of red and green tomatoes. We will cook with these daily til they are gone…I don't can with them as I heard end of season tomatoes get too low in acid. I will freeze some if have enough for a quart at a time.

  3. I've still got tomatoes going! Woot woot! Put in peas, favas, lettuce and bok choy and am leaning on the hens to keep producing.

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