Kath Irvine Writes

November in the Organic Food Garden

By Kath Irvine www.ediblebackyard.co.nz

(excerpt taken from “Organic Garden Calendar” by Kath Irvine)

Keep a close eye on things from now on in – that way you will be able to nip a weed or pest problem in the bud. Keep a watch for signs of stress or disease in your plants – this could be a bug infestation, leaf discolouration, browning off, wilting, cankers, fungus, mould, deformed fruits …

Mentally prepare yourself for the big Spring winds. I hope your garden is prepared and protected too.

In the Vegie Patch

Seed to sow

salad greens – sow another lot of lettuces and salad greens

vegies – beans, cucumbers, corn, zucchinis, celery, peas, pumpkins, silverbeet, tomatoes, capsicum, aubergines, kale

If you are worried by slugs sow your beans in trays to plant out later, otherwise direct sow them. They need soil to be 15 degrees to germinate. A soil thermometer is a cheap and very handy tool!

direct sow – carrots, radishes, beetroot, parsnip

edible flowers and companions

from seed for Summer colours – sunflower, zinnia, marigold, mignonette, nasturtium, alyssum, straw flower

from seed for Autumn/ Winter colours – geum, delphinium, larkspur, lupin, oriental poppy, wallflower


Planting out now

November is a very busy planting time-

  • Tomato, capsicum, eggplant, basil, zucchini, pumpkin, red onion, leeks, beans, peas, celery, silverbeet
  • Space your corn in diagonal plantings in a block rather than a couple of rows. This is for better pollination and strong wind resistance.
  • When you plant out your salads plant them into the shade of taller plants like beans or corn. They are much happier and tastier in some shade. This goes for coriander and rocket as well.
  • Main crop potatoes can go in now. Don’t use animal manures to feed your spuds or they will most likely get blight.


Other Tasks

  • This is the biggest weeding time in the garden. Important to get them before they get away. Use a push hoe or straker to save your back.
  • Regular watering of tomatoes is very important to avoid split fruit
  • De-lateral and tie up tomatoes on a dry breezy day once a week from now on in.
  • Earth up potatoes
  • Propagate your horseradish by root cuttings now
  • Thin parsnip, beetroot, and carrots and enjoy eating these fresh Spring babies
  • As your flowers go to seed begin collecting the seeds. Store them in labeled brown paper bags. Make up your own bags of wildflower mix for a neat gift idea.
  • Liquid feed everything – don’t forget the seedhouse and the compost pile.
  • Deadhead and feed roses
  • Let your bulbs die down naturally. This provides the bulbs with feed for next years growth
  • Divide your violets

In the Home Orchard

  • The bees should be very busy in your orchard with borage, phacelia, lavender, red clover etc all flowering.
  • Your feijoas and passionfruits will be flowering. Passionfruits prefer a cool root run.
  • Keep a check on the moisture of your soil. If the weather is beginning to dry out you may need to begin watering.
  • If you haven’t thinned your stonefruit do so now.
  • If you have new fruit trees you should be removing all the fruit off them in the first two years
  • Liquid feed all.
  • Cut your rhubarb right back and feed heavily in time for Summer pies
  • Are all your trees weeded and mulched by now?
  • Net trees which may be damaged by the birds – loquats, early figs and blueberries


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