November Gardening Tasks – Maintaining Western Gardens In Fall

Avocado Tree In A Wester Garden
(Image credit: jaboo2foto)

Living in the West has distinct advantages as far as gardening goes. Gardening on the West Coast never stops; the ornamentals and crops you plant just change. So it won’t surprise you to hear that many November gardening tasks involve planting.

What to do in western gardens in fall? Read on for a regional to do list.

November Gardening Tasks

While many gardens across the country are getting covered with snow in November, gardening on the West Coast just keeps going strong. The regional to do list includes the usual late-autumn clean-up items, but also lots of planting.

Let’s start with the clean-up. If you still have a green grass lawn, you’ll need to rake up and move or dispose of the autumn leaves that are lying on it. Leaves on lawn will rot but cannot disintegrate into the soil. Instead, the leaf mess prevents sunlight from getting to the grass and can kill it. Remove all leaves, fallen fruit and detritus from the orchard too. 

Do your trees need pruning? November is the best month for it, since few birds are nesting. It is the perfect month to cut back evergreens. None of their insect pests are active this time of year.

Western Gardens in Fall

Now we’ll move to planting, since it is an important part of November gardening tasks in most areas in the West. In mild-winter areas like coastal California, November is a great month to get cool-season annuals in the ground, like Iceland poppies, pansies, primroses, snapdragons and violas. It’s also the moment for planting sweet peas and spring wildflowers. All California native wildflower seeds can be broadcast in November. 

What about bulb plants? With a few exceptions, plant spring flowering bulbs now, including anemones, iris, ranunculus, muscari, narcissus, daffodils and many kinds of lilies and gladiolus. As far as perennials go, plant almost anything this month and it is likely to thrive.

Regional To Do List: Vegetables

Plant vegetables in November? That’s life on the West Coast. It’s the perfect time to plant cool-season vegetables. If you want to plant starts, go for arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collards, endive, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mesclun mix, mustard, onions, parsley, peas and spinach. 

Feel like planting seeds? November’s the time to plant beets, carrots, favas, parsnips, radishes, rutabaga and turnips. You can also plant garlic, onions, shallots and leeks from sets. Strawberries can and should be planted now as well.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.