Happy November. Can you believe that we have already had some 40F nights? Maybe the farmer's almanac’s prediction of an extra cold winter will be accurate for my area. I'm not usually the biggest fan of cold weather, but for some reason, this year, something feels different. I can’t wait for the cold weather.
What I am planting this month (November)
On the Gulf Coast in Houston, Texas, the November temperatures show you why it is great to grow out here. While many other regions around the globe are starting to see snow and shut down their gardens, we are still growing strong out here.
In November, when we have fewer hours of daylight, we have average temperatures of 55-75 F. These are the ideal growing temperatures for my main crops this month, lettuce. This leafy green is an excellent addition to every garden and is one of the plants I recommend all new gardeners to begin their gardening journey with. This quick-growing leafy green thrives when the average temperature is low to mid-60s. If you only had grocery store lettuce, you are missing out. Home-grown lettuce offers a variety of colors and flavors. You can grow a mixture of leaf lettuces or try growing heading lettuce. Most lettuce varieties take around 45 days before they are ready to harvest. Like other leafy greens, lettuce can be harvested at the baby stage. This year, I am growing the following varieties.
- Volcano Bibb Lettuce—This bibb lettuce variety looks impressive in the garden. The small red and green heads are ready to harvest in 52 days. It’s one of my favorites because it is somewhat heat tolerant. I can grow this variety from late fall through summer.
- Black Seeded Simpson leaf lettuce- Here you go if you’re looking for a heirloom leaf lettuce variety. You can harvest this variety at the baby stage in 30 days and full size in 40 days.
- Oscarde oakleaf —My salad garden will always contain an oakleaf lettuce variety. This year, I am growing this red-leaf variety. Like the volcano variety, the temperature tolerance will allow me to grow this variety through March.
Also, this is the month to plant your garlic bulbs. This year, I will plant an entire 2’x9’ bed full of garlic. And since I plant eight cloves per square foot, I will plant and grow 144 garlic cloves this year. That should keep us stocked up for most of the year. I know this may not seem like a lot of space to some people with extensive gardens. But as an urban gardener, deciding to dedicate an entire bed to one crop that takes around six months to produce is a significant decision.
Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated crops on record. Garlic has a rich history across many cultures and is rich in antioxidants and beneficial health properties. Where you live determines which variety of garlic you plant: Hardneck vs Softneck.
Hardneck This is the variety for you if you live in the northern region of the USA or an area that experiences harsh winters. If planted correctly, garlic can withstand some extreme conditions. If you live in an area with a mild winter, such as zone 9 or 10, then Softneck varieties are the way to go. Softneck garlic can also be grown in areas with harsh winters if adequately mulched. While hardneck varieties produce scapes, softneck varieties can be stored longer than their counterparts.
This year, I am growing the following variety.
- Early Italian —This variety can withstand our excessive summer temperatures and grows well in zone 9. It produces large bulbs and is usually not affected by garlic rust.
This month is the perfect time to add perennials to your garden. Perennials are the best addition to any gardening space. I am attempting to build an urban food forest. A gardening space that includes a mix of perennial and annual fruits and other edible crops.
Perennials are plants that re-grow yearly from the same rootstock you planted once. True perennials die back during the winter months and reemerge in the spring, and some perennials only last a few years, while others may last for decades.
I am adding the following edible perennials to the garden this month:
- Horseradish—This strong-scented root is one of my favorite perennials in the garden. Be careful if you add to the ground in your garden because it will spread and take over a section of your space. I prefer to plant horseradish in containers where I can control the size. Now that I think about it, I need to eat more horseradish.
- Perennial Onions —Growing perennial onions is one of the easiest ways to ensure a successful harvest. Depending on your plant variety, you can harvest the bulbs, foliage, and flowers. A friend in Northern California introduced me to these perennials with a 10’x10’ patch that fed him year-round. The variety I am growing is grown for the tops. The bulbs must be removed from the garden before the summer heat sets in.
- Artichokes —I plant artichokes in every garden even though I am not the biggest fan of eating them. Rather than harvesting and eating the artichokes, I leave them on the plant and let them flower. The bees and other pollinators love the purple flowers filled with pollen.
What AM I HARVESTING THIS MONTH:
- Basil—Can you believe I still harvest basil from plants planted in early summer? We have had a few cold spells come through and do a little bit of damage to the plants. I will take one more large harvest before removing and replacing the basil with kale plants.
- Radishes – The Cherry Belle and French breakfast radishes planted last month will be ready to harvest before the end of the month. I’m excited to play around with a few different pickling recipes.
- Asian Greens- In September, I planted an entire bed full of Asian greens. The Bok Choi and Pak Choi are ready to make their way to my kitchen. My favorite thing about these greens is their compactness, allowing you to grow many heads in a confined area, which is perfect for an urban garden.
What else am I doing around the garden?
At the end of October, I finally converted the front lawn into a garden by adding six raised beds and some inground planting areas. I am currently focused on adding edibles in this space. I already added two citrus trees and plan on figuring out how to add two more and blackberry bushes. From now until spring, I plan on adding more perennials and converting this space into a pollinator-friendly garden focused on perennials. I can't wait to share this space with you.
Don’t forget to order your seeds for your Spring garden!