By Hannah Zwartz, Green Gardener
Planting time is the best time to add a deep-root watering system. Shown is a terracotta pot with the hole blocked (water slowly seeps through the walls,) but you can also use upside-down plastic bottles with the bottoms cut off. Water into the bottle or pot – it makes the job much easier, and delivers water straight to the roots, which is best for the plant.
Things are at their freshest, juiciest green: It’s a great season for lettuce, parsley and silver beet, so make the most of these before they go off to seed. Top tip: If your silver beet is starting to flower, try eating the buds, before the flowers open – they taste slightly nutty. Stir-fry or steam them like broccoli, or dip them in eggy batter and fry.
November is also the month of flowers: Think about the bees and avoid using pesticides.
Jobs for November:
- Keep planting summer vegetables a few at a time, for a steady supply.
- It’s still cold for tomato seedlings, especially if they’ve been growing in a hot house - `harden them off’ by leaving them outside a few days before planting, or rig up a temporary cloche for shelter in the garden.
- Stake tomatoes, beans and peas at planting time to prevent root damage later. Tomatoes need 2m-ish tall, strong stakes. For cherry tomatoes, which have a more sprawling habit, try making cages, such as a ring of netting or a tripod of canes.
- Put in a root-watering system at the same time you plant - a terracotta pot with the hole glued up, or an upside-down plastic bottle with the bottom cut off.
- ‘Edit’ self-sowers like borage and calendula so they don’t smother other desirable plants. They are great compost fodder.
- Weed and mulch fruit trees and berries – make sure trees don’t dry out at this time or they will drop their baby fruit.
- Compost- it’s great rotting weather and there are lots of weeds and grass clippings at hand. Pile up new heaps, and turn older ones to find the black gold at the base.
- As you weed an area, follow up with mulch straight away to prevent weeds and keep the ground moist over summer. Take away a barrow of weeds- replace it with a barrow of mulch.
- Divide perennials and herbs- split clumps into smaller plants to keep them vigorous.
Sow seed: Salad greens, beans, peas, beetroot, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, kamokamo, pumpkin, cucumber, leeks, red onions, carrots, rocket, coriander, parsley, sunflower.
Plant out: Beans, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber, peas, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, all sorts of herbs and flowers.
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