November in the Garden

La Nina is messing with our weather again. The National Weather Service reports above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation in our area and most of the U.S. for November, December and January. Being forewarned is being forearmed. You might want to consider installing drip irrigation for your vegetables and your ornamental

Vegetables

Now’s the time to plant Brassicae (or cole crops as we call them here). This includes cabbage, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Remember to mulch around the plants to keep in moisture and keep out weeds. Cole crops need water ( 1 to 2 inches per week) and are heavy feeders so make sure you fertilize them regularly. See https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/gardening/cole-crops  for more information.

You can also plant lettuce, arugula, mesclun mixed greens, beets, carrots, turnips and radishes, but make sure you protect them from very cold weather.  Cold weather herbs like parsley and cilantro are also excellent additions to your ornamental garden.

Ornamentals

Dianthus, cyclamen, alyssum, dianthus are ideal additions for winter color.  You might even try some ornamental vegetables like cabbage and kale. Don’t forget to water them in and use a water-soluble fertilizer when you plant and keep fertilizing every week. Also, plant spring-blooming bulbs now, as well as wildflower seeds such as bluebonnets.

Woody Ornamentals

November is late fall, and is the best time to plant trees, shrubs and vines. This gives the plant time to build a good root system before spring.  A great place to start is the Texas A&M Forest Service Tree Planting Guide. https://texastreeplanting.tamu.edu/

Composting

Although we recommend fertilizing in October, if you didn’t, then think about spreading ½ inch of organic compost across your lawn. Rain will bring the compost down into the soil, inhibiting the growth of weeds and providing nutrients throughout the winter.

Now’s the time to collect fallen leaves and compost them. If you prefer, run them over with a mower and leave the shredded leaves on the lawn. They will also provide carbohydrates to turf grass. If you think that is too unsightly, rake them and compost them. Since about 70% of a tree’s nutrients are in the leaves, they will disintegrate in compost adding to its richness.

You’re probably seeing cool season weeds now in your lawn. There are two ways to deal with them. One is to apply a post-emergence herbicide. The other way is to mow them down before they can produce seed heads. Since most of these weeds are annuals, and spread by seed, you will be nipping them in the bud, so to speak.

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