By Sophie Warren-Smith published
November is a quieter month for gardens as it’s time for them to hibernate and renew. However, there are still plenty of gardening jobs that you can be keeping busy with. It's possible to sow seeds as some varieties are able to go directly into the soil as the cold will prevent them from growing and they will lie dormant until the sun does its job. This might sound pointless in terms of sowing, but actually it saves you time in the busy spring season.
Alternatively, you can sow indoors and winter your seedlings in a cool part of your house, in cold frame or a greenhouse. This month is also the ideal time to be planting tulips, plus you'll find more gardening jobs for November in our guide.
1. Sweet peas
Sweet peas are one of our favourites here at Gardeningetc. Their heady scent and oh-so-pretty flowers are heavenly, and the good news is that you can start sowing them now and then again in the spring so that you benefit from an extra long flowering season. They are fast growing and will be the bloom that keeps on giving throughout the summer.
There’s a myriad colours to choose from, including pastels tones to deep shades of purple and magenta. Although some say October is the last month to sow, you can successfully start them off in November by sowing them into pots of good-quality compost and popping them into a cold frame or greenhouse to overwinter. Keep an eye on them and if a harsh frost is due give them a layer of fleece for added protection during the night. Our guide on how to grow sweet peas has more expert tips to get you started.
2. WINTER GEM LETTUCE
Growing lettuce in winter is possible if you choose the right variety. The good news is you can still enjoy the sweetness of a gem lettuce and this variety is the hardy version of the popular ‘Little Gem’. They can be sown right through the winter because they are cool season crop and hot weather can actually hamper germination. You can sow directly into the soil if you pick a sheltered spot and add in some good-quality organic compost. If it gets frosty, keep them under a cloche, or alternatively sow into pots and keep in a cold frame if you don’t have space in your garden. Harvesting months run from November to March.
3. Broad beans
Broad beans can be directly sown from early autumn to late winter, with cloches put over them for protection. Then in March they can manage without the help. They love full sun on rich fertile soil, but do protect them from strong winds. The Oscar variety is ideal for containers and small spaces and is the smallest variety of broad bean, making it perfect for freezing.
4. ACHILLEA (YARROW)
This is a stunning variety of yarrow and includes pink, reds, corals, yellows, bronze and some white. It will brighten up your garden no end and they look striking when arranged in a vase. They are a perennial and will bloom first in May and then continue to give you lovely flowers until the first frost. Sow indoors to start with, prick them out into pots, but don’t plant them out until the danger of frost in the spring has subsided.
Alliums are striking to look out as they have an architectural yet decorative structure that makes them stand out against other varieties. They can be sown directly into your garden now as the cold of the winter will put them into hibernation until the sun starts to warm the soil in the spring. Or if you prefer, sow indoors and overwinter them in a greenhouse until spring. They will emerge with their beautiful purple heads from late April to the end of June. Head over to our greenhouse ideas for more inspiration for your garden glasshouse.
Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist last year and recently launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for weddings and events.
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