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Gardening Hints and Tips for November 2022

Put away the lawn mower

Clean the underside by scraping off dried clippings and make sure the collecting bag is

empty. If it's a petrol mower, drain off the fuel, as unleaded petrol doesn't store well.

Collect leaves

Try to clear them from paths and patios, though, as they can form a slippery layer.

Sharpen secateurs

Begin by cleaning off any hardened sap with wire wool.

Then, use a fine-grade sharpening stone (alternatively, use a sharpening device), hold the secateurs firmly in your hand and sharpen both edges of the cutting blade on anvil secateurs, and only the outer edges of the blades on bypass secateurs.

Mulch bare soil

As you clear summer crops on the veg patch, increase the bed’s fertility for veg by mulching with organic matter, such as garden compost or spent mushroom compost. Apply a 5cm-deep layer and leave the worms to drag it into the soil

Turn compost heaps

Turn heaps of compost made since late summer to speed breakdown and improve quality. It’s hard work but makes a worthwhile difference as it speeds up decomposition. It only needs to be done once and is a way of introducing oxygen to the heap. This feeds the bacteria, which promotes further decomposition. It’s also a good opportunity to break up any lumps you find and mix the ingredients. The easiest way to do it is to dig out the whole heap with a fork and move it into an empty neighbouring bin.

Sow broad beans

Sow broad beans in deep module trays, with the aim of seedlings being about 5cm high by the new year. This small size makes them more weather hardy than larger plants.

Plant Garlic

Garlic likes a period of cold so November is a good time to plant it. Put individual cloves 15cm apart in rows that are 30cm apart. Rust has been a problem in recent years so plant in a cold greenhouse or under a cloche to help avoid it.

Plant Tulips

Planting tulips in November won't avoid the fungal disease tulip fire, despite what you may have read elsewhere. However, it is a good time to plant tulips, as they enjoy the cool, moist conditions that are associated with this time of year.

Look for bulbs that have intact skins and don't show signs of mould. Tulips should be planted three times the depth of the bulb.

Plant paperwhite narcissus for Christmas

For flowers indoors at Christmas, plant paperwhite narcissus in mid-November. Put the bulbs so their tips are just below the compost surface and plant them 2.5cm apart. Put them in a cool spot, such as a coldframe, until the shoots are20-25cm long, then bring them indoors. The stems will need supporting as they tend to flop.

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