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November gardening activities

1. Plant a tree: now is still a perfect time to get that shade or ornamental tree in the ground.

2. Plant flowering perennials: it’s never too late. Even though their tops will be burned back with the first hard freeze, their roots will be hardy. During the cool days of winter, they will establish a healthy root system for a show in the spring.

3. Plant some winter blooming annuals: in central Texas, we can grow pansies, snapdragons, violas, stock, cyclamen, flowering cabbage and kale. Remember to work in some organic plant food such as blood and bone meal. These slow release plant foods will feed your plants throughout the winter and into the spring. Pansies love blood meal.

4. Plant fall bulbs:  there is still plenty of time. There is a great selection of late winter to early spring flowering bulbs to choose from. Look for tulips, narcissus, jonquils, muscari, daffodils, ranunculus, and anemones. Bulbs benefit from the slow release phosphorus found in bone meal. Mix a tablespoon in the root zone when planting. For ‘a drift’ of any of these flowers, you’ll need 30 or more.

5. Force some bulbs indoors: this is a fun activity for Thanksgiving and Christmas time. The easiest are paperwhite narcissus. Add some potting mix to a clay or plastic 6” bulb pan (fill about ½ way). Place 3 to 5 bulbs on top of the soil and add some decorative gravel to keep them upright and firm. All you need to do now is water the bulbs in and place the pot in a sunny location. It takes around 3 weeks for the bulbs to force out their foliage and open their flowers. Easy and decorative.

6. Winterize your lawn: use a slow release organic lawn food. This will give nutrition and strength to your lawn for the coming cold months.

7. Cut back your perennials: do this after the first frost, and mulch your beds with compost and mulch mixed together. This combination will feed the roots while conserving water and warming the bed. (Average day for first fall frost is November 28.) 

8. Onions, scallions, garlic: November is onion, scallion, and garlic month. To be successful with these vegetable gems, don’t wait until the days get long again. Success requires growing in the short days of winter. You can grow an onion 6” across! Timing is most important.

9. Keep on the lookout for a world of fall bedding (annual) plants. As temperatures cool, we can begin to plant dianthus, snapdragons, and petunias.

10. Watch for black spot and mildew on roses. With cooler weather, these pesky rose diseases will begin to show up. An organic spray of Neem oil or wettable sulfur should help in keeping it at bay. 

If you have a question for Chris, send it via email to  Or mail a postcard to It’s About Thyme: 11726 Manchaca Road, Austin, TX 78748

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