November Gardening Tips for the Fall Rush

November Gardening Tips for the Fall Rush

November gardening in the Northwest calls for much to care for during the fall season. Sweeping and raking fallen leaves, bringing in containers, and ridding yourself of all your pruning clippings. Protecting plants and gardens is the main reason to put all the tips below into practice for the fall rush.  


Adding compost in the fall before the soil becomes too wet and is easier to work with, and because generally in the growing world the end of the season is a less hectic time than in the spring. An extended winter may cause the soil to stay frozen longer, decreasing your planting timetable.

How to put your garden to bed each fall:

  • Remove any dead plants or annuals (plants that don't come back year to year).
  • Pollinator/native gardens can remain and cleared out the following season if your space permits. These hibernating plants provide environments for creatures.
  • Add a 2" top cover of compost to your growing spaces
  • In addition, cover with straw, leaf mulch, or plant a cover crop (prevents erosion).
fertilizing lawn

Planting and fertilizing

Getting your bulbs, camellias, fruit trees, and roses in the ground before the first frost is essential. Ensure the planting areas are free of weeds and pests. Water and fertilize your newly planted material.

November is a great time to fertilize your lawn and flowering bulbs that pop up in the spring. This is the time of year when grass plants recover from disease, heat, drought, and other summer stresses. The grasses also prepare for the dormant period forthcoming. By fertilizing in the late fall, individual grass blades can store carbohydrates in their rhizomes, stems, and runners.  Carbohydrate reserves enable your lawn to fight damage and disease over the winter months. Carbohydrates also act as an energy source for roots and shoots when spring arrives. Finally, fertilization in the late fall provides better coloring over the winter and enhanced green color next spring.

Harvest fall vegetables and fruit 

root vegetables

Some of those glorious root vegetables and fruits are ready to pick and enjoy. Many fall favorites below are in season to enjoy this month.

  • Pumpkins and squash
  • Beets
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Persimmons
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cranberries

All of these are ripe just in time for immediate use or freeze to use for holiday meals. Your bounty can also be shared by making delicious soups, desserts, and casseroles for friends and family. The fall rush to protect and harvest your gardens is on before the first frost. The Northwest is relentless with the rain and intermittent colder temperatures. Preparation will safeguard your plants and trees throughout the winter season. For more tips visit our blog page and check out our helpful Growing Guides for more information of how to take care of your plants and garden.


  • virginia g Brown

    Thank you.

  • Cathy Doucet

    Based on what you said above, is it OK to add the 2 inch layer of compost in the spring (I still have a lot of stuff semi-active), or is it best to add in November? Won’t the cold weather kill the microbes, etc.?


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