November Gardening Activities - Region 1

Gardening Tips for November

Northwest and Northern California Gardens

Learn2Grow Region 1 Map

States in the region:

Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Northern California

Key Issues for November

  • Check your trees for bagworm capsules. If you find any, remove and destroy this pest and its “bags” immediately.
  • Check your garden for scale, too. This plant pest can be sprayed with dormant oil now and again in early spring.
  • Keep your plants well-watered going into late fall and winter, paying close attention to any that have been recently planted. Plants that face winter dryness are prone to damage and dieback during the cooler months. The trick is to water deeply and less often in order to establish self-sufficient plants. (Otherwise the more you water, the shallower plant roots will be.) Adding a layer of mulch around the base of your plants also helps retain moisture.
  • Clean up the perennial border before Old Man Winter arrives.
  • Rake the fallen leaves off your lawn – especially if you’ve recently seeded. A layer of leaves left on your turf can easily smother young or mature lawns.
  • Use raked leaves in the garden: Toss them into a compost pile or shred them with the lawn mower to use as mulch on landscape beds and borders.
  • Resist the urge to give extra care to your houseplants. You don’t need to fertilize them until February, and any repotting can wait until spring.
  • Cut your flowers and herbs for drying before they get zapped by frost, and make lovely dried herbs, infusions and essential oils. Not sure if your plants will dry well? Think of it this way: If you’re going to lose them to frost anyway, why not see what they look like dried? Just hang your cuttings upside down. If it doesn’t work out, all you’ve lost are a few minutes.
  • Leave the seed heads on some of your perennials as a natural winter food source for birds, and clean and fill bird feeders. Once you start feeding the birds, don’t stop until natural food becomes available for them again next spring. (Providing a source of fresh water is always desirable for our feathered friends, too!)
  • Feed birds the fun way: Make a simple bird feeder with the kids by rolling pinecones in peanut butter and birdseed. Add rustic twine or ribbon, then hang the finished ornaments on shrubs and trees near windows and seating areas for quiet observation and enjoyment.
  • Force paperwhite bulbs for some holiday cheer. Blooming paperwhites are known for their intoxicating fragrance, especially during the winter holidays. If you’d like to enjoy them (or give them as gifts) in December, now’s the time to get started!
  • Add cool-season bedding plants to planters, window boxes and borders. Pansies and violas, snapdragons, ornamental kale and others are suitable candidates for adding instant color and interest throughout the months ahead.
  • Remove any mummified fruits from trees, and rake up those that have fallen to the ground. Leaving them where they are might set the disease triangle into motion, causing disease and insect damage over the next gardening season.
  • Clean your gardening tools. Outdoor fall chores are winding down. When you’re finished for the season, make sure your digging equipment is properly cleaned and stored. (This will save you time and money come spring!)
  • Add winter squash to your Thanksgiving Day menu. Butternut and acorn squash are traditional holiday foods – and they’re good for you! Roasted squash is an easy and delicious way to get more of this healthful veggie into your family’s diet.
  • Plant some amaryllis bulbs in containers every two weeks from now through early winter for a continual indoor bloom display that can last until spring. Prized for its incredible trumpetlike flowers, amaryllis is easy to grow (and enjoy).
  • Make your own compost and create some “black gold” for your garden next year – it’s easy! Garden debris (like spent annuals and vegetables) and fallen leaves make suitable additions to the compost pile.
  • Consider buying a compost keeper for the kitchen. (Or add it to your holiday wish list.) Some food scraps you’d otherwise throw away can be used to make compost.
  • Winterize your planting beds and get a head start on eliminating potential garden pests and problems next spring: Do a thorough cleanup of your beds now, taking care of any remaining annuals and vegetables in the garden. Any debris that’s infested with insects or plagued by fungi should be thrown away – not composted. Remember, good sanitation goes a long way in the garden!
  • Winterize your lawn mower, too, after the final cut of the season. Any repairs, sharpening or blade replacements should be done in late fall or winter, so you and your mower are ready when active lawn growth resumes in spring.
  • Dig, cure and store tender bulbous plants. Non-hardy bulbs that are left in the ground will turn to mush during winter’s freeze. Store your tender bulbs in a frost-free location until all danger of frost has passed come spring. One convenient place to store frost-tender plants is in the crawl space.