Self Sufficiency Update – November

With all the rain and storms we’ve been having lately, getting out into the garden has been quite challenging.  However when not pouring with rain the temperatures have held quite well recently.  With the recent bad weather and gusty winds I was expecting a bit of a clear up exercise but the garden held it’s own really well, including the plastic grow-house which is always the thing that keeps me on my toes, checking to making sure it’s still standing.

I’m shaking things up about in this area.  I’m going to start my updates at the beginning of the month because I want to share with you the tasks that will need to be done in our garden for the month and a further list so readers can see what other things can be done or sown at this time of year.  The emphasis is on growing as I want to make sure we eat something from our garden all year round.

I’ll add my photo’s at the beginning of each post so if you haven’t got time to read you can quickly glance at the garden’s update.

As always, let me know what you think.  Is it useful or just a pain to read?  

November’s Update

Raised Beds

I’m still managing to harvest salad and spinach leaves from one bed.  The spring onions are still growing strong in another but I have a couple of issues with the last two beds.

The seed potatoes appear to have been eaten from the inside out and have little sprouting from them.  Of course this was my fault for plating them so late but I always think it’s worth a go at trying these things out.  Unfortunately I bought the seed potatoes from eBay and they didn’t look all that fantastic when I got them so lesson’s learnt there!  Be prepared!

Also in the bed I grew cabbages in and then planted more for over winter I appear to have lost quite a few plants and I don’t know why.  They all started off growing strong but then slowly, over the past two or three weeks have withered and died!  I pulled one up and it would appear there was no roots taking hold in the soil and I just don’t know why?  Not enough nutrients left after the last cabbages?  Not enough drainage?  Too wet?  I have no idea.  It does get me thinking a particular question though…

If I want to grow veggies in the raised beds through the year – at what point does the crop rotation get done?  Should I have moved the cabbages from one bed to the next at the second sowing, or should I wait until the new growing season next March?

If any one can answer that I’d be very grateful as I’ve been thinking about this but have no idea and all I’ve read so far doesn’t tell me the answer either.

Out of the two raised beds in the front garden, one is now ready to be used once filled up with soil.  I’ve delayed buying it somewhat because I want my compost to be added in first.  The other bed has the swede plants growing and I must say they are doing really well.  While the bed isn’t full to the top with soil the plants are obviously enjoying a more shady/cooler spot.

Grow House

This was cleaned out and cleaned up, with a new thermal and plastic cover put on.  It’s now housing a lot of the perennial chilli plants, more seed potatoes (in plastic sacks) and some bulbs in pots.  I made a mistake with these seed potatoes as well – they got eaten quite quickly by the late summer pests and I’m just hoping somewhere, beneath the soil surface, there is growth waiting to appear.


Both the apple and plum espaliers continue to look fine.

Front Garden

To this area I’ve added 50 daffodil bulbs.  I’ve got another 50 to plant but I’m beginning to run out of room!  I’ve also planted 20 crocus bulbs.


Aside from the salad and spinach I mentioned earlier in the post, I’ve also had another couple of meals of beetroot, and the garlic continues to supply the kitchen well.  I’m pleased with the beetroot because when it was growing, which seemed to take ages, I didn’t think it had done well but it was definitely a good crop to grow in a small space.  I also didn’t think they would keep in the ground as long as they did.  The trick is not to expect huge beets as they compete for space.  The smaller they are the sweeter they taste 🙂

My top three jobs to do in November:

  1. Continue to get the raised beds stocked up with compost – I haven’t ever been able to find a bulk buy in compost so I’m having to buy bags of compost as and when I can.  Nearly all there now though!
  2. Plant more lettuce sowings – possibly indoors now.
  3. Continue to feed the birds and keep the bird baths clean.  Seed and peanuts can be very expensive to buy so I’m always on the look out for bargains.

Garden jobs to do around the garden in November

  • Rake and collect fallen leaves to be able to make some leaf mold, or just add to your composter
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs
  • Cut back ivy (once flowering is over)
  • Sow broad beans now for overwintering, and you’ll get a lovely early crop next year (boiled up with some mint and served with some grilled halloumi, lightly fried garlic and onions – yum!)
  • Plant garlic
  • Prune blackcurrant plants
  • Sit back on a cold/wet day with your feet up and get those plans in place for the garden in 2014.

So, what will you be up to in the garden this month?


7 responses to “Self Sufficiency Update – November

  1. That’s a good point you make about rotations: in books it’s all black and white, but in practice things are much more blurry and bed systems tend to become mixed as one crop goes and another, from another group, replaces it.

  2. It’s amazing how many situations you mentioned on your blog that are happening in my garden too; the difference is that we don’t rain maybe a little bit on the weekend. I didn’t have luck AGAIN with the broccoli, except that this year the plants were huge; unfortunately they were eaten by some bugs; also I’m guilty for not paying enough attention to them until it was late; but at least this year they developed big roots and leaves, some of them got broccoli heads full of some tiny worms. If somebody knows about that PLEASE help me with the information.

      • Well the idea of crop rotation is to keep pests of particular veggie groups to a minimum & allow the different groups to add & take away different nutrients from the soil. I guess as long as you can keep adding those required nutrients yourself, and the plants don’t get maulled by pests (and you have to end up burning the plants) then crop rotation might not be necessary.

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