November Gardening Tips for the Midwest

Before you start feasting on turkey and the snow really starts flying, tackle the last of the outdoor chores.
Planting Bulbs

There's still time to plant. To ensure roots have plenty of time to grow, you want all new additions to the landscape -- including spring flowering bulbs and hardy garlic -- tucked into soil about 6 weeks before it freezes.

If you are planting late in the season, give your plantings a leg up by applying a thick mulch (up to 4 inches) of chopped leaves, pine straw, compost, or straw. This will insulate soil enough to postpone a freeze.

Make sure to keep an eye out for rodents. Mice especially love to nest in mulch through winter, and voles love nothing better than a thick cover to burrow beneath.


Continue to water plants, especially any new additions during the past year, until the ground freezes. This is vital if autumn rainfall is scarce.

Test Garden Tip: Dig planting holes now for live Christmas trees you plan to add to your yard next month. Save the soil you excavate, storing it in a place it won't freeze. Fill the hole with leaves until planting time. Use a tarp to keep leaves in place.

Continued on page 2:  Time to Tidy Up