Let’s Get Gardening: November 2017

I have to admit that I nearly cried in the grocery store yesterday, because I had to buy tomatoes. It made me realize that summer is truly over, and I am doomed to have tasteless tomatoes for months and months. This is what is truly most sad about summer ending.

While no consolation for the end of summer, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is saying that our winter will be warmer than usual, with slightly above normal precipitation. However, they are also saying that early December will be one of the coldest periods of the winter, so don’t delay for too long in getting your outdoor chores done, or you could be doing them in the freezing cold!


November’s Featured Garden Product: Burlap

This is a great month to talk about burlap because this is a great time to put it to good use in our yards. The main use for burlap at this time of year is to protect plants from the cold, but burlap has lots of other uses as well. Read more about the benefits of burlap in this month’s newsletter.

In this month’s issue of Let’s Get Gardening

Since it looks like gardening season has mostly come to an end, it’s time for cleaning up and packing up. Well, and maybe a little bit of gardening, too! For a number of weeks, I was telling people to hold off on getting their bulbs planted, because it was still just too warm. That’s no longer a problem. I now have to get my bulbs in the ground as well – both flowers and garlic. I also still have a bit of clean-up to do in my veggie garden. Here’s what else needs to be doing this month:

Vegetable Garden:

  • Pull weeds. Pulling weeds out of the garden now will help cut down on what you have to pull in the spring.
  • Clean up your veggie garden- pull any plants that are left and compost those that are disease-free. Trash plants that had signs of disease.
  • You can leave root crops such as carrots, radishes, turnips, etc. in the ground over the winter, as long as you give them a really deep layer of mulch (such as straw or leaves) before the ground freezes.
  • Plant garlic, peas and spinach at this time. Make sure to cover your planting bed with a light layer of straw mulch to help keep moisture in.

Flower Garden:

  • It is time to pull out any left-over summer annuals. The freezing overnight temps we’ve seen recently mean they’re pretty much done.
  • Once you’ve cleaned out containers, store them somewhere where they will be out of the weather for the winter.
  • Most mums are pretty well finished now too, and can be composted if you didn’t plant them in the ground in hopes of getting them to come back next year.
  • Just as with the veggie garden, remove weeds from your flower beds to give you a head-start on next spring.
  • Once the soil has cooled down, add a layer of fresh mulch to your perennial flower beds to help protect the plants’ roots from frost heave this winter.
  • Plant spring-blooming bulbs. Daffodils, tulips, alliums, hyacinths, crocus, can be planted all the way up until the ground is frozen.
  • If you’ve had problems with creatures digging up your bulbs in the past, try mixing them up with some baby powder in a bag (think “Shake-n-Bake”) before you plant them.

Trees and shrubs:

  • The only pruning of trees and shrubs that should be done between now and about February is to remove dead or damaged branches.
  • While the ground is still soft, put up stakes to use to attach burlap to for wind barriers around evergreen trees and shrubs.
  • Evergreens, as well as deciduous trees and shrubs, will do better with some protection from a number of things they can encounter in the cold months. The University of Minnesota Extension Service offers a great resource for information on what issues trees and shrubs may face over the winter, and how to deal with them.
  • Water your trees and shrubs if we aren’t getting at least an inch of rain each week. This will help to prevent damage caused by the drying winds we get all winter.
  • As with your flower beds, add a layer of fresh mulch to trees and shrubs, once the soil has cooled, to help them get through the winter.

Lawn & Leaves:

  • Lawns are probably about done growing for the season, with the onset of colder temperatures. If you haven’t mowed recently though, you might want to do one final mow before you put away the equipment. It’s not a good idea to leave the grass too long going into winter, as this can promote disease in your lawn.
  • It’s also not a great idea to leave whole leaves on your lawn all winter long. So, while you’re doing that last mowing, use your mower to shred the leaves and mulch them into the lawn, instead of raking them up – it’s better for your lawn, and for your back!


  • Clean, dry, sharpen, and lubricate your garden tools before you put them away so they’ll be ready to get right to work in the spring. Sharpen your shovels, too. A sharp shovel makes digging so much easier.
  • Empty your hoses, roll them up, and tie them before hanging them up for the winter.
  • If you have rain barrels, empty them and put them away, too, or consider bringing one or more of them into your basement to use the rain water over the winter.
  • Here are more great tips on taking care of your tools at the end of the season.


  • Leave your birdbaths out and filled as long as possible. Many birdbaths can’t take being out in freezing temperatures, but you can still fill your birdbaths up during the day, and dump them out in the evening, until daytime temps start going below freezing. Another option is a heated birdbath, like the one we carry, that has a built-in heater with temperature control that only heats up when the temps dip below freezing.
  • If you don’t feed your birds year-round, from now to next spring is the best time to do so. While birds rely mainly on insects during the summer, seeds and berries become the main source of food in the winter for most birds. Providing an easy source of food for them will help them get through the cold days and nights of winter, and lets you enjoy their antics at the feeders, too. Just remember to clean the feeders regularly to help prevent the spread of disease.

Store News & Specials

  • Now through November 15th, all Tulip and Daffodil bulbs are on sale – Buy 6, Get 6 Half Off!
  • 12th Annual Wine, Women & Shopping- Saturday, November 11, 2017 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • $10 off $50 coupon

Read the November 2017 issue of Let’s Get Gardening

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