Garden Tasks for Zones 7-8 In The PNW
November is a hard month to be productive in the gardens for me. In zones 7 and 8 in the Pacific Northwest, it’s getting dark and dreary many days of the week. It’s hard to be productive that first week as the sun rises so late. The chickens don’t want to come out either. It’s hard enough for me to even go outside some days.
November 4th, 2023 is the last day for the sun to set after 5 pm for a very long time. We still have 1 hour 28 minutes to lose before the Winter Solstice. On November 5th the sun will rise at 7 am’ish, but it will be dark before 5 pm. You can almost hear enthusiasm pulling out of our bodies. It whispers “go rest for the month”. But don’t believe it. It’s good to get outside, just plan for the hours when the wind pushes the rain away. An hour here and there will leave you feeling that much better. Especially if you get sun in your face. It will leave you happier and feeling more smooth.
Often by early November we have had some good fall rains where the earth gets well soaked. Even a first frost. Often not a deep one, but a warning of what is coming. And that frost is a reminder of your first chore:
Chores To Do:
- Get your garlic planted as soon as you can, if you haven’t done it already. You need it in the ground NOW.
- Check for broken branches and trees, and haul out.
- Pull out any remaining annual plants that are now dead.
- Weed beds.
- Make sure to bring in delicate citrus trees if you haven’t. We keep ours in the greenhouse.
- Do a fall fertilizing of blueberry bushes and trees, water well after, if you didn’t in October.
- If building new beds for next year (the cooler weather makes it a nice time!) lay down a lot of cardboard to help smother weeds. Place rocks or bricks on top to weight down from winds.
- Clean out your garden shed on a sunny day if you haven’t yet (If you have one).
- Sharpen tools and clean them for winter storage if you haven’t yet.
- Clean your greenhouse (if you have one), removing dead plants and giving it a good sweeping out.
- Take any leftover soil mix (if you have any) and fill 4″ pots with it, to be ready for next spring. I store them in our greenhouse. This way the soil doesn’t get water logged outside.
- Wash and dry empty pots, stack for fall storage, out-of-the-way, so fall storms don’t blow them away.
- Water and turn your compost piles/bins.
- Should you find any deals on berry or fruit trees, get them in the ground in the next few weeks before a heavy, deep frost occurs.
- Avoid any desire to prune trees. Wait till it is winter! Trees and bushes are starting to go into being dormant, and need their rest. Let them lose their leaves.
- Speaking of leaves, if you have a good crop falling consider picking them up to use on your garlic beds. Otherwise just leave the leaves to do their thing.
- Take off hoses, and consider getting faucet bib covers on this month. Remove hose heads and tuck them away for the season.
- Winterize your irrigation systems.
Links To Check Out:
- Building A Simple Hoophouse For Raised Beds
- 5 Months To Prepare Your Garden
- Growing Garlic
- Prepping For Early Frosts
- Expect a lot less eggs many days (if you don’t add supplemental lighting, which I do not). Chickens need a rest as well. You may well have gone to no eggs at all, for the past few weeks, especially if your birds are over 2.
- Clean their coops and runs, and start laying the wood chips a bit thicker for the coming cool weather.
- We let our chickens out of their run when we are working so they can get time on dry ground (as in grassy areas). Often the fall rains lead to a mud pit in the coop. Sunny days help it, as does buying or chipping wood chips (the durable kind) to lay in walk areas in their runs to control mud.
- Toss your chickens as many scraps from the dying back garden to get variety in their diets. Save your kitchen scraps as well for them. Far better for them to have it than the compost pile.
- Let them out to till areas with their little feet.
- Stock up a couple bags of feed to have on hand in case of bad weather, so you don’t run out if it snows.