November Tips for the Garden

white fir tree
White fir tree at Grimm’s Gardens

We do not think about there being much to do in the garden in November. However, November in Northeast Kansas is usually snow free, and warm enough to work the ground for the next season.

This is also still a good time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials, as long as the ground is not frozen. Hold off on putting in new evergreens though, unless you have wilt-pruf or a similar anti-desiccant. Winter is usually drier (less humidity), causing the needles of evergreens to dry out. This is a problem for newly planted evergreens.

Things to do in the Vegetable Garden

  • If you have not already done so, plant garlic. Garlic can be planted successfully up until the ground is frozen.
  • Clean up the vegetable garden by removing dead plants, canes, and leaves to the compost pile
  • Remove mulch and debris from permanent beds and put in the compost pile
  • Add a fresh layer of new compost and shredded leaves to permanent beds
  • Add season extenders to the fall vegetables areas (low-tunnels)
  • If you have large beds that require tilling, add shredded leaves and compost, then till
tree wrap on a maple
Tree wrap on a young maple

Things to do in the Landscape

  • Water newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials when the daytime temperatures are above 40 degrees F, once a week
  • Collect seeds of your favorite wildflowers and scatter over a prepared bed for a wildflower meadow
  • Rejuvenate prune burning bushes, deciduous viburnums, spirea, and lilac once the leaves change color and fall
  • Wrap young trees (up to 2 inches in diameter) with bark protective wrap or plastic sleeves to protect from animals and sunscald
  • Apply rabbit repellants to susceptible shrubs (holly, burning bush, viburnums)
  • Continue planting trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs until the ground freezes
  • Apply wilt-pruf or a similar anti-desiccant to late-summer or fall planted evergreens
  • If you have not done so, cut back messy perennials (daylilies, hosta, iris, peony, hardy hibiscus)
Holiday container
Holiday container

Annuals and Containers

  • If you have not cleaned out your annual beds or containers, do this now
  • Cut evergreens, dogwood, seedheads, and berry stems for holiday containers
  • Arrange holiday containers before Thanksgiving

Birds and Wildlife

  • Place birdfeeders outside (I put mine away for summer) away from windows
  • Use high quality black oil sunflowers, safflower, and/or grains to attract the biggest variety of birds
  • Provide squirrels with #2 yellow corn on the cob
  • Leave small brush piles as cover for birds and small animals
  • Keep ponds open at one spot with a tank heater or break the ice so animals can get a drink
  • Use a heated birdbath and refill daily for birds
  • Leave some seedheads for birds (coneflower, bachelor’s buttons, zinnias, asters, goldenrod)

Preparing for Next Season

  • Take inventory of what seeds you have and prepare a list for ordering
  • Order seeds now to avoid a rush next spring
  • Collect seeds from annuals – zinnias, marigolds, cardinal vine, cleome, bachelor’s buttons, tassel flower, gomphrena, hyacinth bean, helenium, sunflower, tithonia, talinum, verbena, thunbergia
Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Renee’s (Ordered from Grimm’s Gardens)


  • Drain garden hoses after each use
  • Prepare covered buckets of ice melt or sand for the walks and driveway
  • Place snow shovels in strategic locations (by the front door or garage door)


November is the time to begin settling down for winter in the garden, but there is still plenty to do. Preparing the vegetable garden now will allow for easy access next spring and early planting.

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