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November Gardening – Sue McDougall

Even though November is officially still a month in spring, some of the days can take us by surprise and warm up very quickly. This causes plants to stress and suffer because they are not used to the sudden heat. Apply a wetting agent to ensure the water is soaking into the soil and cover the ground with quality mulch that lets the water through while reducing evaporation from the soil.

It’s time to plant beans. A summer producing crop, the flavour of home grown beans is second to none. You can pick a few as they are needed for salads or stir-fry. Beans are a legume so fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil, improving fertility of the soil. Better Pets and Gardens have a great range of bean seeds to plant. Plant them in any bare spot in the garden.

Fresh garlic bread or bruschetta with large lashings of fresh garlic should be on the menu this month since it is time to harvest. Pull the bulbs out and plait the leaves together and store them in a dark place. Fresh garlic is so full of flavour and juice that you will never be without home-grown garlic again.

Citrus have finished flowering and now are putting their energy into the tiny developing fruit. It’s best to thin this fruit to ensure large quality fruit for the following year. Apply a complete citrus fertiliser around the root system and water it in well. Citrus are shallow rooted and benefit from a thick layer of mulch under the root system, out to the edge of the foliage.

Feed citrus in pots with a controlled release fertiliser at the beginning of every season and apply a liquid fertiliser over the foliage fortnightly. Soluble liquid fertilisers are absorbed through the foliage 400 times faster than when fertilisers are applied over the soil.

Many daisy bushes and perennials have finished their main flush of flowers. Give them a hard prune while the soil is relatively cool and there is still moisture around.

Roses have also finished their first flush of flowers and can be dead headed to encourage the next flush of flowers. Dead heading is not crucial for the plant to produce many flowers, but it looks a little tidier. Apply some granular fertiliser around the base and water in well.

Chillies are such great value because they will keep fruiting well into June next year. You will have fresh chilli on hand whenever you need it and now is the time to plant seeds or seedlings. If germinating seeds, plant them into seed raising mix and place it in a warm spot that is protected from the hot sun. If you’re not a fan of hot chillies look for some of the mild varieties that will still add flavour without the ‘blow your head’ off effect. Chillies will keep producing for months and even years, depending upon the variety. They grow very well in large pots or in a sunny position in a well improved soil.

Most herbs grow very well in the warmer weather and November is a perfect for establishing a small herb garden next to the kitchen. The flavour of home grown herbs is superb and will make the most boring food taste brilliant. Herbs that can be planted now include basil, marjoram, oregano, parsley, dill, fennel, thyme, sage and rosemary. Look for an extensive range of seeds at your local Better Pets and Gardens store. Try Basil Minette which is a compact bush that keeps its neat growth habit and has a spicy flavour.

Daylilies are starting to look stunning. It seems the hotter it is the better they are looking. These large sized flowers only last a day, but so many are produced they seem to be never without a flower. It’s the perfect plant for dry area gardening.


Written by Sue McDougall, a qualified horticulturalist and experienced garden centre owner who grew up in the WA wheatbelt and has had experience in gardening throughout the entire state.  You may know Sue as the garden expert on 6PR radio and by her many TV appearances.


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