November: Monthly review

The last sunny day in November!

Overall, November seems like it was a good month even with the scaled-down Thanksgiving “celebrations.” There were 20 beautiful, warm days for outdoor work and below normal precipitation once again. The grain-hauling trucks rumbled by day and night all through the month. The farmers were able to get a lot of drainage work done and lime or manure spread on fields. The wheat is up and looking good for this late in the year. The election was finally over, and without the worst-case scenario of civil war, and although the Covid numbers jumped dramatically, overall things seemed rather calm compared to the prior months. The clocks were set back, and I’m not sure my internal clock has adjusted still. College football returned, and the first college basketball games began, so life seemed a little more normal.

During November, the bulbs were all planted, and there was lots of tidying up in the gardens. The tender plants have all been moved indoors, and any “tender” crops have been harvested and brought into the garage or preserved. If you look at the photo, you can see rows of garlic emerging in some beds, and the two plastic-covered berry box/cold frames that are now protecting crops that will be harvested in the coming months. The beds that are empty have received a good layer of homemade compost, and “sheet” composting has begun in some beds where the soil level is a bit low. The crucial work is done. Prep for winter is far from over though, since none of the deck planters have been trimmed, none of the summer furniture has been stored yet, and there are still hoses to be rolled up and stored away. Do notice how pretty the newly stained beds and top rail look in the photo. It’s pretty doubtful that any more staining/sealing will be accomplished until spring, but still hopeful that the last two berry boxes will get built soon.

The biggest leek I’ve ever grown!

Since the temperatures were dropping, on the final day of November one patch of leeks was dug. The photo is of the largest leek I’ve ever grown, weighing in at over 1.5 lbs. A reference object would have helped you understand the size, but the bulb was 4″ in diameter at the base! There is still one bed unprotected to be dug,(just right of the closest berry box in the photo) and under the taller berry box there is half a bed of leeks and half a bed of carrots, so there’s lots of leek and potato soup in our future, and maybe a leek pie or two!

Total harvest from the potager for November was 53.5 lbs, up from 38 lbs. last year. This year’s harvest was mostly leeks, red cabbage, carrots, beets, lettuces, turnips, broccoli raab, radishes, and kohlrabi, along with lots of herbs. There are still lots of hardy crops to be harvested in December. The only preserving was 11 pt. of pickled beets and some jars and tins of dried herbs. Everything else was eaten fresh, or is in baskets in the garage, which was the goal for this year: to eat more “fresh” rather than canning or freezing so much.

Flowers in my future!

The first amaryllis bulb was planted on November 8th. It’s the one on the right. The one on the left was just planted November 29th, but it’s catching up. I should have expected that since the one on the left is a “Christmas” amaryllis. They are called that in the catalogs because they are the ones that come from warmer climates like South America, Mexico, or Africa and produce flowers very quickly so they are the ones generally mass-produced by commercial greenhouses for the holidays. The bulbs are generally a bit smaller, too. The bulb on the right is from Holland and will take longer to come into flower, but it will be worth the wait! So, when you are purchasing amaryllis bulbs, look for their place of origin to know if they are quick or slow. I like to have amaryllis bulbs coming into flower when the Christmas decor is taken down, so the house doesn’t seem so empty and gloomy without all that glitter and lights. The hyacinth bulbs are currently chilling in the refrigerator, and will be planted in January, and I kept one little package of species tulips to pot up as well.

That’s the November monthly review for 2020. No complaints really, and definitely giving thanks for all the blessings of the month.

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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11 Responses to November: Monthly review

  1. Lovely, where are you located?!?

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  2. xLeah2k13 says:

    Holy moly you had a lot going on this November! Waiting for the bloom is almost as exciting as the blooming itself. Warm wishes, and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bcparkison says:

    Never have grown leeks and really don’t know what to do with them. I am always so impressed with your energy. You go girl..

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    • carolee says:

      I just began growing them in the last few years, but wasn’t successful until I found the French Baby Leek from Renee’s. They have a lovely onion flavor, without “bite” and are quite versatile, plus it’s one more thing that I can grow late and harvest into winter. Gonna do it while i can…soon I’ll be too old…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Going Batty in Wales says:

    That leek is amazing – mine are more like pencils but I know my beds need feeding. I have requested more cow manure from the farm and hopefully it will arrive this week. I still have loads of clearing up to do but the priority has been to start cutting wood for the fires. A gardeners work is never done!

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    • carolee says:

      Boy, did your comment bring back memories! Our first year on the homestead way back when, the old (un-insulated) house came with a top loading (very inefficient) wood stove. The house was at the top of the hill, all the dead trees were at the bottom, and at that time we did not have a vehicle that could make it up the driveway. So, we pulled the wood up the hill on a toboggan, and could barely get enough wood cut and moved to meet our needs for each day. Exhausting, and not a winter I ever want to repeat!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        I wish it had brought back happier memories! Most of my trees are higher then the house luckily but no vehicle can make it up the paths so it all has to be carried. I have central heating and the stove is in case that fails or as backup but m tenant just has a stove so we need a fair amount of wood. Luckily she is young and fit!

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      • carolee says:

        We were young and fit back then, too! Aaah, the good old days!

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