November can be wild in Portland. Overnight temps dip, the wind blows and the rains come more frequently. Leaves turn glorious colors and blanket our landscapes with the change of seasons. Pacific Northwesterners revere the needed showers that restores moisture to dry soils. So get out your rain clothes — enjoy this refreshing Fall weather perfect for mind-clearing walks or horticulture therapy in the garden!

 

Holiday Garden:

The holidays are right around the corner, and may look a little different this year. How about social distancing on the patio this holiday season? Indoor and outdoor gardeners looking to spruce up their home, gardens and patios for the holidays will find some excellent ideas and inspiration in our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide.

 

Maintenance:

Collect leaves to use as mulch for winter root crops and resting vegetable beds. The leaves as mulch provide cover for beneficial ground dwellers like earthworms and ground beetles. Trim back out-of-bloom perennials and lightly prune crossing and “wild hair” branches on trees and roses that will whip around and potentially cause damage to the plant. If you haven’t spread compost on your landscape beds yet, adding it now benefits plant roots from the nutrition working its way down via winter rains, deters weeds and protects roots from freezing temperatures.

November can bring the first frostit was in late October this year. Citrus and other tender plants enjoying summer outdoor living need to be protected from cold damage with frost cloth and cloches. Potted tender plants will need to be transitioned indoors as temperatures fall.

 

Edible Gardening:

There is still plenty to harvest in your vegetable garden. Parsley, kale, squash, and brussel sprouts are just a few of the fresh items ready to grace your table this month. Root veggies need some mulch to help protect them from frost.

It is not too late to plant garlic and shallots for sprouts in January and February. As an added bonus, it also provides a bit of protection against deer, as they are deterred by the scent. Cover crops, if not already planted, can still be sown before the first freeze, and help build the soil for the next harvest. Don’t forget to plant fresh parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, mint, tarragon, oregano, marjoram and other herbs for gourmet holiday cooking. Check our Kitchen Garden greenhouse for all the possibilities!

 

Outside Plants:

This is a fantastic time to plan your landscape design. As trees drop leaves and perennials and annuals fade, the bones of your garden are exposed. With all the extra time we’re spending at home these days, enhancing your nest to be a joyful resort/retreat will definitely lift your spirits. Consider consulting with a landscape designer to plan a beautiful and bountiful garden that can be enjoyed for years to come. Bill Clodfelter, our Landscape Services Manager, provides design and planting services and can be contacted here: services@cornellfarms.com.  It all starts with a Garden Consultation to give you ideas, and if you choose, progress to a full design and planting.  

It is not too late to get your spring bulbs, perennials, shrubs or trees planted. Clusters of iris, daffodils, tulips and perennial flowers bring nature’s floral song of spring color and early nectar sources for native bees
Hellebores, pansies and ornamental kale make great additions to your early winter garden or planters, providing nice pops of color. Ornamental grasses can also be left up to help provide depth to your garden through the winter months.
The amazing fall leaf colors of trees and shrubs are at their brightest in early November—the best time to head to the nursery and see what color you need to add to your landscape palette for late season color.
Evergreen conifers provide color, structure and texture in harsh winter months, and can also double as a living Christmas tree during the holidays.