Get ready to transform your garden into a winter-ready wonderland with our November gardening tips for Pacific Northwest’s Zone 8. From protecting perennials to planting garlic, enticing wildlife, and more – our guide will help you make the most of the transitional month of November.
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As November blankets the Pacific Northwest in its cool embrace, gardeners in Zone 8 are presented with a unique set of opportunities and challenges. While the region’s renowned mild climate affords the chance to extend the gardening season, it’s also a time to prepare for the approaching winter.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through a checklist of essential gardening tasks tailored to the unique needs of PNW Zone 8 gardeners during the month of November. From nurturing late-season crops to readying your garden for the colder months ahead, we’ve got you covered with expert advice to make the most of your garden this autumn.
Cut Back & Mulch Perennial Plants
With greenery beginning to recede, now is the perfect time to prune back your perennial plants. Generally, you cut them back to just above the ground and apply a generous layer of mulch. This protective covering will shield your plants from the harsh winter conditions, ensuring they emerge strong and healthy in the spring.
Some common perennials to prune back in the fall include clematis, daylily, peony, crocosmia, & more!
Cut Down Annuals
Just like the perennials, those summer annuals are done for the year. Instead of removing healthy annuals, consider cutting them back to ground level. This leaves the roots in place, nurturing the soil’s organic biome throughout winter. By spring, these remnants should be fully decomposed and ready for new planting.
But if the plants show any size of disease, do your best to remove them from the property.
Finish Planting Garlic
If you haven’t already started planting garlic in October, now is the time to get it in the ground. By the end of November, your garlic should be safely planted, allowing it a full nine months of growth before harvest.
Learn more about how to plant garlic here.
Wondering what type of garlic to plant? Learn more about choosing the best garlic to plant in your area.
Net or Harvest Your Brassicas
If you’re growing brassicas, it’s time to pull them or protect them. Personally, our fall brassicas are ready to harvest, so we’re in broccoli heaven. Plus waiting until after frost made them extra sweet.
But if you succession planted later into the year, you may be able to successfully grow brassicas through the winter. If your plants will be around in the coming months, protect them from hungry deer, pigeons, and other critters by covering them with netting.
Tidy Strawberry Beds
Prepare your strawberry beds for winter by removing weeds and runners. Trim away dead foliage and insulate the plants with a 3 to 5-inch layer of mulch, preferably straw, to prevent compaction and protect them from frost. The saying is that strawberry don’t like wet feet, so don’t leave exposed them to wallow in the winter rains.
Care for Garden Tools
With the gardening season winding down, it’s time to clean, oil, and sharpen your garden tools. Proper maintenance ensures they’re in prime condition when spring arrives.
Help the Wildlife
Winter can be challenging for local wildlife, so set up bird feeders, hummingbird feeders, and bug hotels to lend a hand to the creatures that call your garden home.
Learn more about planning a pollinator-friendly garden here.
Broadcast Seed Wildflowers
Take advantage of the season by sowing wildflower seeds in less-accessible corners of your garden. With ample rainfall in spring, these seeds will get a head start and grace your garden with their vibrant colors during the warmer months.
Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, are best harvested in early November because the cooler temperatures trigger a reaction that makes them just a little bit sweeter. They are a delicious, high-fiber addition to the garden. But we do warn you to always plant them in containers because they can become invasive.
Dahlias – To Dig or Not to Dig?
In milder climates like Zone 8, you have options for how you can store your dahlia tubers over the winter. Some folks leave them in the ground & have great success. But the rains & rot could potentially cost you a few tubers up to your entire crop – so it can be a risky move.
A lot of folks pull their dahlia tubers by mid-November and store them in a dark 35-50 degree space. For us our first year, this was in a box, wrapped in a sleeping bag, on a mat, with a light pointed at the box (for warmth) out in the shop – a very classy setup. But bundled in the garage or in a root cellar would work fine too.
For the second year now, we’re choosing to store our tubers in the garden, covered with a healthy layer of mulch and a plastic tarp. We find this keeps them warm and relatively dry over the winter, while not having to find enough space to store hundreds of tubers.
Finish Planting Spring Bulbs
While many gardeners traditionally plant bulbs in early fall, you can still make the most of this month’s cool, moist soil and mild climate by planting spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. And this month, you might start seeing spring bulb sales as local big box stores make space for winter stock.
With these November gardening tips, you can ensure that your garden remains healthy and well-prepared for the winter ahead, setting the stage for a bountiful and beautiful growing season next year.
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