November Planting at Cloughjordan House Garden

At this time of year, it’s a good idea to start planting for spring colour.  Bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and crocuses will provide early colour for your garden.  Plant them roughly three times as deep as the bulb is long.  If you don’t have borders plant them in a patch on the lawn and mark the spot with sticks so they aren’t mown in spring.  I find planting in odd groups gives a nice natural look. 

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Garlic should also be planted at this time of year, as it will need 2 to 3 months of good cold weather to develop properly.  Dig over a bed with good, well-rotted compost or farmyard manure (about an inch deep over the surface of your bed) till the surface, removing any large stones, and plant your garlic leaving 10-15cm between each clove and 30cm between rows.  Keep the spacing wide and its easier control the weeds with a garden hoe rather than hand weeding.  I usually don’t hoe until I can see the shoots of the garlic to prevent damaging them. 

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Dig and till bed

Dig and till bed

Make holes 10-15cm apart using a dibbler.  Use string to get nice straight lines

Make holes 10-15cm apart using a dibbler.  Use string to get nice straight lines


Now is a really good time to clear your garden of anything that is past its use.  Even at this time of year a few peas and beans and root crops can linger on, but remember that your soil needs your attention too.

To protect your soil from winter rain and wind, and to return fertility lost during the summer months, cover the bed with two or three inches of farmyard manure or compost.  Usually bagged compost is expensive but may be more suitable for small gardens in towns.  Straw can also be used as a mulch to protect your soil but won’t add any fertility, and will have to be removed in sprint as digging it into the bed can actually bind up important nutrients. 

If you cannot find good compost on a budget vetch (a form of legume which gives nitrogen to the soil) can be sown in sprint and dug into the soil in early summer, which will give you a few months in summer and early autumn to be productive. 



For anyone into gardening or looking to develop their garden further now is the time to start.  Prepare your beds and start looking at what crops you are interested in growing. 

Anne-Marie Kinane