Bins Full Of Squash And Pumpkins
november NW
(Image credit: StudioBarcelona)

Many of us experience freezing temperatures and even snow in November, but that doesn't mean your gardening chores are finished. The Northwest garden in November may look like a frozen desert, but there are still things to finish up, as well as items to start for spring. A garden to-do list will help you remember all your chores and keep you on task, so everything is ready for the warmer season.

Tips on Gardening in Fall

In some regions, gardening in fall is still a daily activity. In the Northwest, however, gardens in many areas are resting up for spring. Regional gardening tasks differ by zone, but one thing we are all focused on is clean up and maintenance. November is a good time to straighten up the potting shed, clean and sharpen tools, and do a general cleanup outdoors.

One of the more obvious tasks is cleanup. If you have trees, raking is likely a priority. You can put your leaves to good use as mulch or an additive to your compost pile. Rake leaves directly into beds rather than bagging them up. Alternatively, you can use your mower to break them up and leave them on the lawn or use your bagger and transfer the chopped-up leaves to plants.

Dead vegetable plants should be pulled and put in the compost heap. Don't leave them on site to rot, as they may have pests or diseases that will overwinter in the soil. Collect any seed heads to save and keep seeds from produce as you use it to start the veggie garden in spring.

Regional Gardening Tasks for Cleaning Gardens

  • The coastal areas will remain warmer than inland Northwest sites. In these areas, it is not too late to plant bulbs, garlic, or even maintain greens in the landscape. Lift tender bulbs and store. You may also be able to harvest some crops still. Cole crops, in particular, as well as greens, should still be viable.
  • Your root crops will be ready and can be cold stored for quite some time. If you haven't already, pull your potatoes and store them. Check them frequently to remove any that are spoiling.
  • Any area in the region should mulch. Use any item that will break down. Bark, leaves, straw, or any other item that will compost will do.
  • Don't forget to water plants. Wet soil will help protect plant roots from a sudden freeze.

Maintenance Garden To-Do List

While the Northwest garden in November requires less work than the growing season, there are still things to do to get ready for spring. Once all that clean up, harvest, and planting is accomplished, turn your eyes to maintenance.

  • Clean and sharpen mower blades.
  • Clean and sharpen pruners, shovels, and other tools.
  • Remove rust from tools and oil them.
  • Drain and store hoses.
  • Make sure your irrigation system is blown out.
  • If you have a water feature with a pump, clean, check for leaks, and service. You may want to drain the water feature to avoid damage.

Even though leaves have fallen and much of your crops are finished, there are still many things to do in November to make spring easier and your garden happier.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.