November / December

These are the months to ensure you have sharp pair of secateurs to hand as pruning begins in earnest. Fruit bushes and trees will have shed their leaves and will be entering their dormant phase, so now would be a good time to prune them, with the exception of cherries and plums. Blackcurrant bushes, fruit forms on young wood so remove older wood.

Carry out winter digging, clear weeds, apply compost or well-rotted manure to beds. Clear weeds and mulch around the base of existing fruit trees and bushes and prepare the ground to plant new fruit stock.

Plant: fruit trees, blackcurrants, whitecurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, grapevines, raspberries,

Plant shallots.

Harvest Brussels sprouts, remember these taste better once frosted), leeks, winter cabbage, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes.

It’s a good idea to dig up parsnips and leave above ground overnight so the frost hits them hard, they taste so much sweeter once frosted.

Protect or check plants including Asparagus – apply thick mulch of compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil and smoother weeds. Chard – cover with fleece. Jerusalem artichokes – mulch or cover with straw and fruit trees – once leaves have fallen check fruit trees for damage.

Keep a close eye on winter lettuce, especially for slugs

Ensure you have the seed catalogues you need

Garlic needs to be in the ground before Christmas.

Start planning next year’s crop rotation, reviewing what worked well and what didn’t in the current year.

Ho, ho, ho