November Garden To-Do List

Start getting your garden ready for winter with tips and tricks from our editors and contributors.

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Plant Spring Bulbs

My bulbs finally arrived and with one last weekend of 80-degree weather, I think fall is finally here to stay. I'll be planting alliums, anemones, tulips (in the mix are 'Pink Sorbet' and 'Pink Frills', an appropriately frilly variety) and crocus in pots. Send good garden vibes that the squirrels don't dig them all up.—Jessica Yonker

Cool Wave White Pansy-Hanging Basket

Though it's been hanging on quite nicely, it's time to remove the summer purslane from my hanging basket and replace it with something more hardy. I'm also going to tuck a few spring bulbs in the basket for a nice little surprise next season.—Jessica Yonker/Atlanta, Georgia

Snack on Swiss Chard

I planted some 'Ruby Red' Swiss chard out on my patio—the stalks are young and it tastes great right off the plant without being cooked, so I'll harvest some of it for salads now and let the rest mature to cook up later on.—Jessica Yonker

Bring in Houseplants

I've got a potted kalanchoe and tropical dumb cane that have been outside. My apartment doesn't get a lot of light during the day, so I've put both plants in a dark corner of the patio to get them used to the drastic change in lighting. After one last deep watering to ensure I'm not bringing in any bugs, I'll bring them in and let them sit by the patio door for a few weeks before moving them to their permanent winter homes.—Jessica Yonker

Mulch Leaves

A thick layer of mulched leaves is a great insulator and cuts down on soil erosion when winter weather hits.—Mick Telkamp/Raleigh, North Carolina

Freeze Sweet Potato Puree

The annual debate returns as sweet potatoes and pumpkins go head-to-head in a Thanksgiving pie showdown. Preparing and freezing puree in advance makes holiday pie-making a snap.

Apply Chicken Manure

Fresh chicken manure can be applied to a dormant garden in late fall to produce a nutrition-rich soil that will be ready to plant when warm weather returns.—Mick Telkamp

Fall Canning

Pickling and jelly-making continues, with crops like cranberries, apples and carrots still in season.—Mick Telkamp

Get the Hoop House Ready

We'll put the greenhouse plastic on our hoop house.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe/Atlanta, Georgia

Overwinter Tender Plants

We'll bring in the rest of our tender plants and perennials that need to overwinter indoors.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe

Harvest Cool-Weather Greens

We'll harvest some collard greens, kale and turnip greens.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe

Rake the Leaves

Rake and mow fallen leaves for mulch and the compost pile.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe

Apply Free Mulch

We'll finish spreading the free tree mulch on the garden's existing garden paths.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe

Plant Bulbs

We'll get the rest of our flower bulbs and garlic into the ground.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe

Clean the Fountain

I'll happily watch my husband drain, clean, winterize and cover our small garden fountain. Who am I to deny him the pleasure of this important annual ritual?—Kim Visokey/Winnetka, Illinois

Winterize Roses

Prepare roses for winter by leaving plant-fortifying hips in place and protecting the base of bushes with leaf mulch.—Kim Visokey

Prepare Winter Containers

Empty window boxes and containers of plants and potting soil. Prepare new mix to hold winter greens.—Kim Visokey

Sneak in a Few Spring Bulbs

Tuck in a few last-minute bulbs before the ground freezes...I'm always glad I've done this come spring.—Kim Visokey

Transplant Hydrangeas

Before the first frost, I'm going to transplant a couple of small hydrangeas that are getting too much sun. I can tell they're unhappy because they wilt every day in the summer.—Lynn Coulter/Atlanta, Georgia

More Blooms, Please!

To coax lots of blooms from my pansy plants, I'm applying a water-soluble fertilizer this month.—Lynn Coulter

Mow the Leaves

When the weather's dry, I'll run my mulching mower over the fallen leaves in my yard.—Lynn Coulter

Decorating With Fall Leaves

I’m going to preserve some of my beautiful autumn leaves by dipping them in melted beeswax. Then I’ll string them and hang them in my kitchen window.—Lynn Coulter

Overwinter Dahlias

I’ll dig and store my dahlia bulbs before frost. I forgot them last year and lost them to the polar vortex!—Lynn Coulter

Store Patio Furniture

Clean and cover up the patio furniture for the season. Store the cushions away from the elements.—Melissa Caughey/Osterville, Massachusetts

Mark the Driveway

I'll put up reflective markers along the driveway to show where the lawn and gardens begin when plowing or snow blowing in the winter.—Melissa Caughey

Winterize Tools

I'll winterize the garden power tools, including the lawn mower and leaf blower.—Melissa Caughey

Feed the Birds

I'll clean, refill and hang feeders for the birds that plan to overwinter in my backyard.—Melissa Caughey

Decorate for the Holidays

I'll decorate the porch for Thanksgiving.—Melissa Caughey

Prepare the Chicken Coop for Winter

Winterize the chicken coop by adding a heated waterer, doing one more deep cleaning, shoring up defenses against predators and wrapping the run in plastic to prevent snow from piling up in the flock's outdoor living space.—Melissa Caughey

Compost Care

I'll till the compost pile one more time.—Melissa Caughey

Building a Deck

This fall may be the time when I bite the bullet and finally build a deck. I have been pondering this awhile and thinking of the features I most want: a small screened-in area for when the mosquitoes conspire to make summer unbearable; a nice underdeck space for storing wheelbarrows, a potting bench and tools: sort of my planting ground zero. And most importantly, a style that blends with the look of my home: I am thinking of staining the rails and floor.—Felicia Feaster/Atlanta, Georgia

Planting Ornamental Grass

My garden needs some filler in between the lower perennials and annuals and the large shrubs that provide the foreground and background for my garden. I am thinking of adding a hardy, ornamental grass like feather reed grass to add interest to that middle zone.—Felicia Feaster


Unfortunately, this will be how I will spend a good portion of my fall. I plan to add a layer of leaves to my beds to serve as mulch, but the rest will be hauled to the curb during one of the best cardio workouts of the year.—Felicia Feaster


Like putting blankets on the beds inside, the fall mulch application will keep things cozy, protected—and neat. They say Atlanta is in for another harsh winter!—Felicia Feaster

Making Soup

One of the pleasures of fall and the onset of chilly weather is the chance to put canned veggies and cool-weather greens to use in winter soups. Few things offer the comfort, and nutritional wallop of a delicious homemade soup packed with garden goodness. —Felicia Feaster

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