There was a time when November gardening was unheard of here in the Treasure Valley. Bogus Basin always opened on Thanksgiving and it wasn’t uncommon to have snow in the valley, too. Well, times have changed and there are lots of things we can be doing outside. Leaves are still changing color and falling, giving us a chance to add some of the most wonderful organic matter available to our gardens.

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This month on the D&B Garden Show I’ll get a chance to visit with Gretchen Anderson about winter chicken care. Any animals kept outside during the winter months require extra attention for their health and comfort. Gretchen is just the person to help us figure out what we should be doing this time of year with our backyard chickens.

It wouldn’t be November without a visit from Mary Ann Newcomer. She’ll be on to talk about new plants she fell in love with this past summer, plants she had no luck with at all, gardens she saw and of course, items you don’t want to miss, in case you’re buying for a gardener this holiday season. If we’re lucky, I can get her to come on the show again in December to talk about garden gifts, crafts, and recipes.

Here are a few tips to keep you busy in November:

  • If you’re planning on buying a live Christmas tree with the intention of planting it this winter, dig the hole now, before the ground freezes. Remember to keep the soil covered, so that it too does not freeze and can go back into the hole.
  • Clean up, and dispose of, any diseased foliage. Don’t compost it, throw it out.
  • Deep water your woody ornamentals then drain and store your hoses. At least unhook them from the house!
  • Shred your leaves and use them as mulch in your garden beds or as a soil amendment in your vegetable garden. Till them in now and they’ll be decomposed by spring. You won’t find a better soil amendment.
  • Start forcing paper whites and amaryllis bulbs for the holidays.
  • Speaking of bulbs… do you still have a bag of bulbs waiting to be planted? Get them in the ground NOW! You’ll be so happy next spring.
  • Mow your lawn a little shorter for winter so the blades don’t mat down and suffocate your turf. However, don’t scalp the lawn either. That will expose the crown of the plant and cause potential damage.
  • If you haven’t fertilized your lawn this fall, you can still do it now. Fall is the most beneficial time to apply lawn fertilizer.
  • Once they’ve finished blooming, chrysanthemums can be cut within several inches of the ground.
  • Mulch your perennial beds and bulbs after the ground freezes. This will moderate soil temperature and help avoid the frost heaving that pushes plants right up out of the ground.
  • Tilling your vegetable garden in the fall exposes many insects to the cold winter temperatures. This could help in reducing their numbers next year.
  • Wrap newly planted, thin-barked trees to avoid sunscald to the southwest side. Remove the wrap about Easter time.
  • Stop fertilizing your houseplants until spring.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and count your Blessings!