November Thoughts

I sat on my deck yesterday and surveyed my backyard—it was a great excuse to escape the vacuuming I should have been doing. I made a mental checklist of everything I wanted to get done before frost. We’ve been lucky thus far—usually, we’ve had several touches of frost by now.

Move houseplants indoors—done. Well, except for the few pots of holiday cactus waiting by the front door and one stray plant I’m not sure I will keep. It’s a great plant really, but the citrus trees, orchids, etc. take precedence—maybe one of my sons…..

Put Amaryllis to Bed

Put my amaryllis to sleep for the winter—almost done. They’re inside drying out. When they’re completely dry, I’ll cut the leaves off and put the pots in a cool, dark, dry place for 8 to 10 weeks. No, they won’t bloom at Christmas—but I don’t want them to. If they bloom at Christmas, they’re almost hidden in the corner, overshadowed by a decorated tree and Christmas poinsettias and the occasional ornament on the floor, left behind by a curious kitty or two (or four). And then I have to save this pot of leaves and try to find room in that jungle of plants already occupying all the sunny spots.

On the other hand, if they bloom at the end of January or even in February, I enjoy them so much more because the tree is gone and I’m so sick of winter I could scream. These dramatic and gorgeous huge flowers make me smile. I then only have to shove them in between my citrus trees for two or three months, instead of four.

Top Dress my Vegetable Garden

Top dress my veggie garden—done. My raised beds got about four inches of mixed compost on top—two parts plant-based compost (mushroom compost and Leaf-Gro compost) mixed with one part animal-based compost (composted cow manure). The plant composts add carbon—necessary for good soil structure and the animal composts add nitrogen—necessary for plant growth—however too much nitrogen can leave you with a lot of foliage on your tomatoes and not so much fruit.  The compost will sit there all winter leaching those nutrients further into the soil with every drop of precipitation we get.


Get up acorns—done—well, I’ve gotten up as many as my back will let me, anyway. Did you know that you can save a bagful or two, crack them with a hammer, and throw them out over the winter to feed the birds? Do crack them first so the birds can actually get to them.

Feed the Bulbs

Feed my bulbs—did that last week. Spring-blooming bulbs are actually waking up in the fall and growing roots so that’s really a great time to have food available.

Plant more bulbs—do this week. Right now is a perfect time to plant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, etc. for next spring. I’ve got enough to add to my front flower bed and more to fill the pots on my deck.

Protect plants that need protecting over the winter—do this week. I have some outdoor plants still living in pots so I’ll move them right up next to the house where they have a little protection over the winter. My rosemary (which is a bit more tender than some plants) gets put behind the Japanese maple next to the front door—easy access if we get a night in the single digits and I need to wrap it temporarily.

Whew—I’m tired just writing all this—but at least most of it is done now.

Have you finished all your outdoor chores yet?

We certainly can’t do your chores for you, but we are available to answer any questions you might have!

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