November is a crucial month for horticulture enthusiasts, a ‘month of transition’ that offers the opportunity to prepare the vegetable garden for winter and plan crops that will bear lush fruit in the following season.
In this long process of preparation and cultivation, winter plants for the vegetable garden play a fundamental role. Their presence makes it possible to build a solid enough base to keep the garden active even during the colder months.
In this article, we will discover together some interesting ideas for the autumn vegetable garden, identifying the most suitable plant varieties for survival during these months and how to take care of them to achieve positive results in a short time.
At the same time, we will understand what to plant in the vegetable garden in November to ensure a continuous production of fresh, tasty vegetables. We will discover how to take care of the soil and its little inhabitants, without mistakes and without rushing.
A guide to winter planting in the vegetable garden
What are the best plants to grow in the vegetable garden in November? How much space is needed for planting in the vegetable garden in November?
In this short guide to winter and autumn planting in the vegetable garden, we will focus on selecting plants suitable for cultivation during the coldest months of the year. The advice for all vegetable gardeners is to take good care of the soil between September and October so that the seed bed is as healthy and nourished as possible.
A few weeks before sowing, arm yourself with a spade and shovel and remove all the weeds in the garden. Remove all roots and pebbles that could impede the growth of your crops, using the spade to loosen the clods of soil and encourage the spread of nutrients.
A light layer of nitrogen-based fertiliser is what is needed to finish the job of preparing the vegetable garden, so that you are ready and know exactly what to plant in the vegetable garden in November.
What to plant in the vegetable garden in November in Italy
What are the best plants to grow in the vegetable garden in November?
In November, it is possible to grow a wide variety of vegetables that can resist the cold and withstand even the lowest temperatures. Leaving aside the risk of frost, to which unfortunately no plant is immune, it is possible to choose cold- and frost-resistant plants to ensure optimal growth during the winter.
Let us look together at some of the best plants to grow in the vegetable garden in November, with their specific characteristics and needs.
Spinach is rich in nutrients and grows well in cool climates. They have dark green leaves and are extremely versatile in cooking (from winter soups to spring salads).
Spinach seeds should be planted 1-2 centimetres deep and about 10 centimetres apart. In general, they prefer a position in full sun or half shade, with constantly moist, well-drained soil;
Valerian is a broad-leaved vegetable with crisp green leaves. It has a slightly bitter taste and is excellent for preparing tasty salads.
Its seeds should be planted at a depth of about 1 centimetre, keeping a distance of 20 centimetres between plants. In the vegetable garden, valerian prefers a semi-shaded position and requires well-drained soil;
Leeks are similar to onions but have a more elongated shape. As with spinach, seeds should be sown at a depth of 1-2 centimetres, keeping a distance of about 10 centimetres between plants. Once added to the vegetable garden, they should be placed in a sunny or semi-shady area with well-drained soil;
Cauliflower, characterised by its compact head of white flowers, is a very versatile vegetable, used for the preparation of starters and side dishes. It is usually added to the vegetable garden through careful transplanting. Seedlings should be placed at a distance of about 60 centimetres from each other to give them the necessary space to grow without problems. In general, cauliflower prefers full sun and requires fertile, well-drained soil;
Lettuce, ideal for salads, is characterised by tender leaves with a delicate flavour. The seeds should be placed at a depth of 0.5-1 centimetre, while the individual plants should be kept at a distance of about 25 centimetres from each other. As with all salads, it is important to choose an area in the garden with direct sunlight;
Kale has jagged leaves and a slightly spicy flavour, ideal for preparing salads or tasty side dishes. Its seeds should be planted at a depth of 0.5-1 centimetre, respecting the rule of about 30 centimetres distance between plants;
Potatoes do not need very high temperatures to grow properly. On the contrary, an average temperature of 12 to 16°C is sufficient to plant them. It is possible to start their cultivation in September, or directly at the beginning of October;
Just like leeks, radishes can also be grown all year round. They are sown from March until November, with a minimum temperature above 7°C. They grow very quickly and easily, without needing too much care and attention.
Aromatic herbs to plant in the vegetable garden in November
Now that we have seen which vegetables are most suitable for growing in November, it is only right to focus on planting aromatic herbs.
Undisputed protagonists of most home gardens, aromatic herbs are able to offer a long-lasting harvest with constant, targeted growth. Let’s take a look together at which herbs are most recommended for sowing in November and which directions should be followed for ideal growth.
Oregano is one of the fast-growing herbs, capable of producing excellent results even during the autumn. Once planted, it needs little attention and not too much water;
As is often the case when we talk about herbs, thyme also needs well-drained soil and good exposure to the sun. The soil should be watered moderately so as to avoid over-watering, while the leaves should be harvested when ripe;
Sage is a hardy plant that can be sown in pots or in the garden. Once you have found the ideal place to plant it (there must be good sun exposure), water the plant moderately and remember to prune the leaves every month;
Parsley is easy to grow in pots or in the garden. Again, make sure that the soil is well drained and that good sun exposure is available;
Rosemary, like sage, is a hardy plant that grows well in autumn. Choose an area of the vegetable garden with a good exposure to the sun and water it continuously and regularly.
Vegetable garden care in November
Vegetable garden care in November is of crucial importance to ensure healthy and robust plant growth during the coldest months of the year. As we mentioned at the beginning, careful care of the vegetable garden in the autumn ensures positive growth during the winter.
Let us take a look together at how to keep your vegetable garden healthy in November and what care should be remembered to prevent plant diseases. With the right amount of calm and control, you will see that looking after your garden will not be too difficult. Let’s get started!
In November, it is very important to continue removing weeds that can compete with plants for nutrients and space. At the same time, it is advisable to apply a light layer of mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and protect the roots from cold and frost.
Correct watering is absolutely crucial in these cases: although the plants need less water than in the warmer months, it is still important to ensure that the soil remains slightly moist. In general, avoid watering during the coldest hours of the day to avoid freezing, preferring instead the times when the temperature tends to rise.
It is also advisable to monitor the plants carefully for signs of disease or pests. If you notice yellowing leaves or abnormal spots, take timely action with the appropriate treatments. In our guide on how to detect and prevent garden diseases, we have found out what symptoms are generally associated with plant diseases and how to intervene to help them survive the emergence.
If – as is often the case – your vegetable garden has been grown in pots or containers, be sure to protect the most sensitive plants from cold and frost by covering them with fabrics or insulating materials. If particularly low temperatures are expected, non-woven fabric covers or straw can be used to provide additional insulation for the plants.
Finally, in order to ensure optimal plant growth in the vegetable garden in November, it is advisable to observe the specific needs of each cultivated variety and adapt care accordingly. With the right dedication, the health and vitality of vegetable garden plants can be preserved even during the coldest months of the year.
How to protect plants during winter
In November, when temperatures start to drop and winter approaches, it is essential to take steps to protect vegetable garden plants from the cold.
One of the most effective techniques is to cover the winter garden with insulating materials. The use of tarpaulins or ‘non-woven fabric’ covers can provide an extra layer of protection for your young seedlings. These allow light and air to penetrate, allowing the plants to continue to photosynthesise and breathe, while at the same time providing an important barrier against low temperatures.
If you choose to use them, always make sure that the covers are securely fastened and completely cover the plants, avoiding leaving open spaces that could allow the cold to pass through. In addition, it is advisable to choose breathable materials that avoid the formation of condensation inside the cover (which could damage the plants).
In addition to covering the vegetable garden, other measures can be taken to protect plants from winter:
Covering the soil, also known as ‘mulching’, allows heat to be retained for as long as possible, which can ward off the negative effects of the winter cold. Natural mulch is nothing more than an organic substance made of bark remnants, straw and compost, spread directly over crops to protect them from the cold;
‘Cold greenhouses’ (unheated), are ideal for those starting cultivation during the winter months. Their task is to protect the vegetables from the wind and partially retain heat by absorbing energy from the sun’s weak rays. Similarly, tunnels can be used in home gardens to mitigate the effect of outside frost.
Remember to regularly monitor the condition of plants during the winter and adjust the protection if necessary according to the weather forecast. Protecting plants from winter requires some planning and commitment, but the results will be evident in the health and vitality of your crops when spring returns.
We have discovered together what the secrets of autumn sowing in the vegetable garden are and what the main care of the vegetable garden in November is. As experienced farmers, you now know what to do when the cold weather starts to approach and threaten the health of your seedlings.
Care and prevention are two key elements when it comes to vegetable garden care, all the more so when we are in one of the most difficult times of the year – due to rain and low temperatures. If you are prepared for the cold weather, your crops will not be damaged and you will be able to enjoy harvest results even during the coldest months.
Prepare for December and January cultivation by making sure that you have sown well in November. Do not miss any opportunities. Good luck!