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November

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Winter is on its way

Protect pots with bubble wrap, ready for winter

Leaves are falling rapidly, and wind and rain are on the increase. Tender plants will need protecting from frost, gales and freezing rains. Move plants into the greenhouse, or into a sheltered spot, but if you can't, it is worth wrapping plants or pots in situ. Remember winter can be a tough time for birds in terms of water and food, so keep supplies well topped up.

Top 10 jobs this month

  1. Clear up fallen leaves - especially from lawns, ponds and beds

  2. Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging

  3. Plant tulip bulbs for a spring display next year

  4. Prune roses to prevent wind-rock

  5. Plant out winter bedding

  6. Cover brassicas with netting if pigeons are a problem

  7. Insulate outdoor containers from frost - bubblewrap works well

  8. Stop winter moth damage to fruit trees using grease bands around the trunks

  9. Put out bird food to encourage winter birds into the garden

  10. Use a seasonal bonfire - where this is allowed - to dispose of excess debris unfit for composting

Monthly Advice

Things to do in the garden this month:

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Weather

Rain

Rainfall can be very variable at this time of year. Generally, averages of about 160mm in Scotland, 150mm in Wales, 110mm in Northern Ireland and 80-90mm in England are typical.

Rain usually begins to replenish underground water supplies now as the topsoil is thoroughly wetted in most Novembers, and surplus water seeps deeper ending up in aquifers, streams and rivers.

Sunshine

Day length is now short, especially towards the north of the UK and the angle of the sun is much lower. There is very little growth in November, but some useful growth of hardy evergreen shrub and leafy winter vegetables such as leeks and Brussels sprouts may occur.

The south coast of England has the most sunshine at this time of year, with 65-70 hours being a typical average for November, but with 107 hours not being unusual in the South West. 59 hours is more typical for Wales, 45 hours for Scotland and 50 hours for Northern Ireland.

The number of productive working hours that can be spent in the garden is now much reduced. You may wish to think about installing lighting in the garden, shed or greenhouse, either to increase productivity or simply to enjoy the view outside from cosy windows.

Temperature

Although temperatures can be fairly mild this month, it may well feel colder than temperatures suggest. Wind and rain add a chill to the air.

Gardeners should be prepared to protect their plants from the cold (link to advice), as night temperatures could drop under 5°C (41°F) in many regions, and even near to zero in colder areas, with sudden frosts catching the unprepared gardener unawares.

Wind

Gales are more frequent this month, especially in the Scottish Highlands, the Welsh hills, and along the western coasts of England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland is more sheltered, being protected by the westerly parts of the Irish and Scottish land mass.

Damage is much less in November as tree no longer carry leaves greatly reducing wind resistance.

Short gusts up to gale speed may, however, occur anywhere and funnelling effects between buildings or landmasses can worsen conditions even in cities that are usually quite sheltered.