November in the Garden

Posted: November 2, 2015

It was another interesting year in the vegetable garden...

May was dry. June and July were wet. August and September were very dry. However, most gardeners had a good year. There were some diseases in the vegetable garden, but diseases were less of a problem than usual.

Now that November is here, there are a few things you can do in the garden.  November is a good time to test your soil. The results will tell how much lime, if any, needs to be applied, and what kind of lime is needed. It takes time for lime to react with the soil and correct the pH. The soil test will also tell how much of each of the major nutrients is needed to get optimum yield. It is important to apply the right amount because overapplication of one nutrient will result in another nutrient being unavailable to the plant. Also, overapplication of nutrients through compost, manure, or purchased fertilizer can have negative environmental impacts. Soil test kits can be purchased from your county Extension office for $9.00.

November is a good time to gather organic matter to apply to the soil. Leaves, grass clippings (only if no weed killer was applied this fall), flower bed residue and compostable kitchen scraps can all be collected in the fall and either put in your compost pile or chopped and spread over the vegetable garden. Manure, if needed, can also be spread in the fall. The disadvantage to spreading manure in the fall is that some of the nitrogen will be lost over the winter. However, there are advantages to fall application of manure. One is that you will have that chore done and will have less to do in the busy spring. The other advantage is that from a food safety standpoint, the more time between manure application and harvest, the less likely your produce will be contaminated.

November is also a good time to make some notes about what worked well this summer and what you would like to do differently next year. Don’t forget that the definition of insanity is to do things the same way you’ve always done it and expect better results. Plan now to make those changes needed to get good results.

For more information contact your local extension office. In Lackawanna County call 570-963-6842 or email

Contact Information

John Esslinger
  • Horticulture Extension
Phone: 570-316-6516