low winter sun over grass meadows

"when November's sun is low"

James Rigg, "To the Corn Marigold," -what to sow in November

Although the weather in November can be off-putting, with the nights drawing in and rain filled days, I try to sow a few varieties to ease spring sowing next year. My essentials are sweet peas, bulbs, hardy winter spring onions and broad beans. I have a small garden so earlier flowering and cropping is important.

Broad beans are sown direct, with a mulch of garden compost (see Growing Broad Beans); Bulbs and Hardy Winter Spring Onions in large containers and Sweet Peas in root-trainers (see Growing Sweet Peas).

If your ground is not waterlogged, plant garlic, onions and shallot sets, asparagus crowns outside. Should you have room indoors, a coldframe or greenhouse/ polytunnel your options are wider. Early peas such as Meteor and Kelvedon Wonder will need protecting from slugs and mice. Salad leaves such as mizuna, mustard and spinach sown under cover for winter pickings. Chilli peppers can be sown anytime of year to grow on the windowsill. When sowing this time of year they require additional warmth and light.

Flowers include eryngiums and alliums which need stratification (cold period) to stimulate germination. Others to try are Bugle (ajuga reptans), corydalis solida, hellebore, lupins, foxglove and verbascum. Sow in trays, pots or modules and leave outside under cover. 



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