November In The Vegie Patch + Greenhouse

The most important mission this month, is planting and sowing. Drop everything else and focus on getting stuff planted! Especially long term crops like kumara, yams, pumpkins and peppers – they really need to get in ground this month. If soils not quite warm enough, jazz up some heat for them.

Once the long term crops are sorted, turn your attention to the successional crops that can be drip fed in a little and often way throughout summer. Here’s an example

  • Once a month until January plant one zuchinni, one cucumber, a dozen salad greens, a few tomatoes and a row of dwarf beans
  • Sow a new lot of corn every fortnight through until December
  • Sow beetroot, rocket, coriander, radish and basil every month

Slow and steady my gardening friends, turns your veggie patch into your veggie shop

What to plant and sow in November


november seed raising

Direct Sow

  • Rocket, spinach, coriander and saladings – all in a bit of shade. These 4 do so well tucked beneath longer term, bigger crops especially if it gets hot and dry at yours.
  • Beetroot, radish, parsnip and carrot
  • Cornflower, cosmos, phacelia, crimson clover, buckwheat and calendula for living mulches around plants that need pollination. Think of your flowers like your crops – a steady succession to keep your garden buzzing.

Tray Sow

  • Spring onions, sunflowers, marigolds, zinnias, geums, mignonette
  • Dwarf beans, climbing beans, shellout beans, soya beans, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, basil, corn – into warm seed raising mix

Direct or Tray Sow

  • Dwarf beans, soya beans and basil can be direct sown if the soil is warm enough. Otherwise tray sow.


Bean seedling popped out of the plug tray ready to plant

The soil in my outside vegie patch has only just landed on 15 degrees. A week or so here and I’m good to go for planting beans. Add a few more degrees and zucchini, cucumber, corn, kumara and pumpkin will be in their happy place and thus, grow like billy-oh. Patience is rewarded.

  • Globe artichokes
  • Red onions, spring onions, potatoes and yams
  • Saladings and leafy greens – in the afternoon or morning shade if its hot and sunny at yours
  • When soil reaches 18 -20° pumpkin, kumara, corn and beans can finally hit the ground
  • Plant tomatoes, basil, soya beans, peppers, chillies, aubergines, zucchini, cucumbers, marigolds and melons into toasty warm soil whether that’s outside or in the greenhouse

Garner more from your space than you ever thought possible, by stacking new seedlings beneath established crops. Eek out harvests from the older crops while they nurture their young replacements.

November Checklist + Things to do

  • Get in the habit of a daily wander to squash pests, whip out the odd weed, check in on new seedlings and oversee plant health.
  • Weeds get going in earnest! The 2 best ways are smothering the weeds with mulch or slice the tops off with a niwashi or hoe. Densely planted gardens win all the way here, largely relieving you of this task. Pay special attention to young seedlings, asparagus, all the alliums – onions, garlic, leeks, and small guys like saladings and strawberries for instance. A little weed on a regular basis is the ticket. For best fertility and sanity, get weeds while they are small.
  • Perpetual beet, winter saladings and parsley are heading off to seed. Let some of them go! They’ll feed the beneficial insects on the way to providing a new generation of plants for you late summer.
  • Check root crops to see whether or not they need a thin. I leave beetroot and onions in little groups of 3 – 5. Carrots and parsnips I like to thin progressively as they grow – starting with perhaps 1cm between seedlings. They grow better by far in community, especially while they are small. I do a quick pass over every now and then, and thin for a little more space each time.
  • Check your garlic. Dig one up to see if its forming bulbs and harvest is nigh. Fresh garlic – hurrah!
  • Protect all potatoes with wondermesh, or other cover of choice, to keep the psyllids out.
newly planted tomato
  • Set up robust frames for tomatoes and beans
  • Forage for OM (organic matter) in the community. .. cardboard, spoiled hay, manure, seaweed… Chances are your stash has dwindled with all the spring plantings. Ensure you have something to hand for side dressing and mulching summer crops.
  • Make a compost pile (or four!) with all your spring clean up. Such lot of ingredient about right now. Theres nothing that will get your garden humming, like your own compost.

Brassica free = cabbage butterfly free!

You will notice there are no brassicas on my November planting list. That’s cos cabbage white butterflies start-up soon and I’m not that keen on managing them. Besides which we’ve just had 8 solid months of eating broccoli and cabbage – it’s time for summery things!

If you are growing spring brassicas, either cover the crop or commit to managing them digitally.

  • Insect mesh, the same fine mesh that keeps psyllids off your potatoes, will keep the butterflies from laying eggs on your precious cabbages, thereby preventing the caterpillars in the first place. Although the moths look haphazard, they are brassica seeking missiles, so cover your crops in an obsessive no holes way. Any little gap and they’ll be in there laying up a storm.
  • If you are home for a daily garden walk, then flick off eggs and squash caterpillars. The advantage of leaving brassicas uncovered is that parasitic wasps can access the caterpillars and take care of them for you.

Derris dust alert! Let’s stop with the Derris Dust. I know its easy. I know Grandma used it. But it’s super toxic! Rotenone, the active ingredient in Derris dust is a neurotoxin (why would ya go there) and fatal to many of our important beneficial insects – parasitic wasps, ladybirds and dragonflies to name a few.

Give your seedlings the best start

newly planted zuchinni in a pocket of living lupin mulch
Squash growing strongly in a pocket of lupin

A strong start makes all the difference.

  • Planting a puny two-leaf seedling in the garden is like kicking your 4-year-old out of home – too vulnerable! Leave seedlings in their pots until they are sturdy enough and their roots fill the container out.
  • Make the transition from the cosseted world of the pot to being planted in the garden a gradual one. Leave seedlings outside in their pots for a few days and nights to get acclimatised.
  • Shelter them if the weather is still up and down at yours by planting amongst greencrops or beneath older/ nearly finished/ heading off to seed crops. Or build a make shift, protective something – an old window positioned to block the cold air, some clear plastic stapled to stakes, or a clear bottle with its bottom and top cut off + slid over top. Ensure good airflow, it doesn’t take much to modify the temperature.

In the greenhouse

crimson clover calendula salads basil and zinnia living mulch in the november greenhouse

A greenhouse is a high-stress environment, all that plastic and heat makes it so. It needs a bit of TLC to get through the summer. Start it off strong with healthy seedlings and excellent compost for glorious humus rich soil to keep plant immunity + production high.

  • A weekly biological feed keeps cells strong, boosts nutrient uptake and both of these things together prevent sucking bugs.
  • Leave a bit of wild in your greenhouse to provide an ongoing mixed mulch – the very best soil conditioner! Sow greencrops/ companions in every gap and let them flower away to entice the bees in. I use nasturtium, borage, mustard, lupin, African marigold and shoofly. Chop them back when they encroach on the crops and pile on the soil as mulch.
  • Tomatoes, dwarf beans, zucchini, melon, eggplants, chillies, basil and cucumbers are growing like rockets in the warmth. Keeping an eye on soil moisture hits the job list. Not too wet, not too dry – just right!
  • Pruning greenhouse tomatoes is in. I do this to create single leaders that’ll grow up strings. The airflow is important for disease prevention, and it makes spraying and picking a dream.


  1. Linnea Lindstroem says

    Hi Kath,
    awesome as usual, just letting you know the cabbage butterfly is actually a butterfly – Pieris rapae if I’m not mistaken 🙂 Not that it makes any difference really, it’s nitpicking I’m afraid. Continue your amazing work and have a lovely spring and summer

  2. Rebecca Stewart says

    Hi Kath,
    I was wondering what your views are on this product ://
    we have used it with great success but I have seen differing views on its use as a toxin free caterpillar control.
    Thanks Rebecca

    • Yes its hard to make a call with the many varied opinions out their – most of them knee jerk and uninformed though that doesn’t stop them haha!! I use a different product but same essential ingredients and I’m happy as to use it. It’s caterpillar specific which to me is the big win – no bees, ladybirds, parasitic wasps are harmed. The only truly environmental way to manage pests is to use a physical barrier – an insect mesh. The minute you spray, no matter how sound the spray, you are causing a reaction somewhere. To me its about weighing up the pros and cons and for me a non selective (kill everything ) spray is out of the question – eg pyrethrum, garlic, rhubarb. Though my goal is to limit plastic + shopping as much as poss BT is one of the plastic bottles I choose to buy as its the only way we get brassicas complete and whole to the table. Life without brassicas … not going to happen! At the end of the day I say trust your instinct Rebecca, perhaps buy some and try it and see how you feel about it. Hope this helps Kath

  3. Kathryn Dewe says

    Hi Kath – what is that hoe you are using in latest video? Buy it where?

    • That good old hoe was in a shed at a flat I was renting! The hoe I recommend is a hula hoe – the link is in the article or just google up hula hoe 🙂

  4. Alison Dixon says

    Hi Kath, I was hoping to ask a question about raspberries but couldn’t see a way of doing it on your raspberry post. A couple of raspberry plants were planted in our garden last spring and I’m just trying to understand how to distinguish between new canes growing through vs. the runners that also sprout up? Which do you treat as new canes? How do you get them structured in a row? Sorry if these are silly questions! Thanks in advance, Alison

  5. Hi Kath,

    My vege garden is overrun by ants. Is there any natural/organic way to get rid of them without harming my veges? I’ve also got boysenberry growing and they love eating them once they’re ripe!

    Thanks, Holly

    • Ants are super tricky Holly – we get them too… they love the greenhouse! I’ve tried growing various herbal ant repellants to no avail so I use a chemical product called extermin-ant that you leave in a shallow dish and they take it back to the nest and it kills them. Cant help with the natural ant extermination sorry, but if you find anything that works would love to know!

  6. Marvellous info and advice Kath thanks very much; I could have done with this years ago.

  7. More awesome advice thanks Kath! It’s my first time growing potatoes and I see you recommend covering them with mesh. Don’t they get really tall? They must be hard to keep covered as they grow? Any tips around that? Thanks again, Liz

  8. Awesome thanks Kath – already have a roll of number 8 for mesh over my broccoli! Cheers 🙂

  9. What a fabulous website Kath, thank you so much for all the information. Could you please let me know what I can do to stop leaf miners tunneling through many of my rocket leaves? And can you still eat those leaves, apart from not looking too great. With many thanks. Cheers, Ingrid

    • Leafminers arent something I worry about Ingrid, but then I only get the odd little bit – perhaps my wild, diverse garden is the answer! Or perhaps my environment is just not as suited to them. Try insect mesh over top of them or you could also try spraying with Neem. They’re a tiny larvae, burrowing in the leaf, so wee that it doesnt bother me to eat them. Plus theyre only eating rocket right… try and see what you reckon 🙂

      • Ingrid Geerlings says

        Hi Kath, my kale is fine during the winter, but as soon as temperatures start to rise in early spring, the leafminers also tunnel through the kale :(. It is probably a good idea to at least try insect mesh, and probably also pull the kale out soon – given that the white butterflies are not too far away. Cheers, Ingrid

  10. Hi Kath, thank you for your super fast answer! They also get into my kale, not during the winter but definitely now as we get into spring. The kale is still growing really well, but maybe I should pull it out? Cheers, Ingrid

  11. I really liked your information on leaf seedlings, by the way really like your site.

  12. Elisabeth Downey says

    Hi Kath, I really appreciate your newsletters and advice especially regarding psyllids which have already arrived – sigh. Again, as I first discoveredthem last year, but at least this year I can spot them early. I’ve sprayed once with neem but will have to continue. They seem to enjoy the tomatoes, potatoes., cauliflower plants, nasturtiums and really anything nearby … a couple of questions. Should I spray the nasturtiums with neem too? And the other plants as well as the tomatoes and potatoes? Also – Should I clear the potatoes i(in pots not in the ground) f the leaves are dying back and yellowing? I did one and the potatoes are pretty small but maybe clearance is best? Also – can i compost the soil or could the psyllids be in the soil?
    Thanks again

    • Hmmm – psyllids on caulis or perhaps aphids? Not that it really matters so much.
      Work on building your soil, little and often with simple natural things and building your plant diversity and over time the pests will shrink.
      Once the spuds start dying back there will be no more growth.
      I dont bother Neem-ing nasturtiums – let them be natural and a host for beneficial predatory insects as well which will in turn limit numbers of sucking insects. Just because I dont though, let your own heart guide in this and all things 🙂
      Nature has got you and your garden safe n sound. Nothing to worry about at all – just watch and observe and try things based on what you see.
      Enjoy! Kath

      • Elisabeth Downey says

        Thank you for the speedy reply. I guess time as well as care is the answer. Is it OK to compost the soil from the potatoes or best to remove from the property?

  13. Ruth OSullivan says

    Hi Kath Im loving all your wise and easy peasy solutions for so many garden issues! Please could you tell me where you got your soil temperature gauge from? Ive been searching online but havent found one like it..thanks in advance!

  14. Megg Hewlett says

    Hi Kath
    Really appreciate your website – thanks!
    Question about carrots
    Planted some can’t remember when 3 months perhaps, and they’ve grown beautifully but then already they are going off to seed and even though ate not that big are woody. Did I plant too early? Not sure why they have bolted.
    I’m in Otautahi/Christchurch.

    • Oh darn… hate it when that happens 🙁 Strike it up to experience matey. Carrots can be left in the ground when its cold – so if sown in late summer for example, they’re ready in autumn and will hold beautifully in the soil until it starts to warm up again in spring when they’ll head off to seed. Spring sown carrots need to be harvested as soon as they are ready because as you’ve discovered, when it warms up they do their thing and head to seed – thats what the woody core is from. If they havent sized up it can be from a number of things – all related to soil – dried out or soils heavy or poor in some regard. Keep improving your soil by adding compost and mulch and greencropping and you’ll get there. Try again early autumn and keep an eye on the developing crop. Love Kath

  15. About leaf miners, we get small diamond back moths in our tunnel house that clean up our winter mescalun. We cant usually plant any greens after September because they get drilled to bits by their tiny green caterpillars. This winter though, I left a dill to go to seed and lots of little dill plants sprang up now a meter high through out the tunnel house. This spring there were no diamond back moths and no caterpillars on the mescalun. I just snip off the dill at ground level and have started to plant toms and peppers. Hope this helps!
    Love your book and have learned about ramial wood chips, we have a little C6 mulcher and lots of shelter shrubs that get too big for their boots, perfect fodder for the garden.

    • Thanks so much Jonathan. This is super helpful for all. You are living proof of the power of observation, letting nature unfold, a spirit of play – et voila! sorted. Love Kx

  16. Hi Kath, I am a new convert to gardening and have been studying your book non stop! Can you tell me where I can by this magical EM spray you talk about? We live in Christchurch and when we went to the local plant store they were not sure what I meant by EM – they suggested this thing called SEEK Organic BamBoo Power Natural Organic Liquid Fertilizer. Thanks for all your inspiration.

    • Glad you’re enjoying the book Erica! In the resources section in the back you’ll find descriptions and links to all products I recommend in the book 🙂

  17. Hi Kath, thanks again for another wonderful post 🙂 My tomatoes seem to be developing sections of black on their stems, about an inch or so long, and dark spots on some of the leaves, which I think may be a sign of verticillium wilt… do you have any experience with this? Google is telling me there is no hope…!


  18. Hi Kath

    Were can i by crimson clover, as i cant seem to find any?


  19. Andrea Giblin says

    OMG, this is making me so envious. We are in the process of moving to our self sustaining block of land and haven’t set up a veggie garden yet. And this is making me want to forget about making the house water tight and livable and just getting straight onto the garden. Haha. We have planted 5 fruit trees and a whole area of different berry bushes though. We have goji berries waiting to go in and tomato seedlings and lettuce seedlings growing (still only tiny yet) and mesclun in a pot. But I am getting itcy feet. Aaargh!!!
    Keep up the good work. I know your advice will be invaluable once we are there full time.

  20. Megg Hewlett says

    Hi Kath
    Thanks for your website and blog – it’s wonderful.
    I have a question – lots actually but this is the one on top – is it possible to have too much compost in/on your garden?

    I have a very large compost and absolutely love making compost. I have so much I give it to neighbours and friends. But I have begun to wonder if I am putting too much on my own garden.
    One reason I’m asking is because I’ve struggled to get beetroot growing much root. Lots of leaf and healthy looking plants but very little to eat underground. Am trying to work out why.

    And do you know this quote from Better Midler about compost.

    My whole life has been spent waiting for an epiphany, a manifestation of God’s presence, the kind of transcendent, magical experience that let’s you see your place in the big picture. And that is what I had with my first compost heap.”
    — Bette Midler

    • Ahh Bette! Totally calls it! Thanks for sharing that
      …. and too much compost … crickey, you must be the first ever person I’ve met with this dilemma. What an epic neighbour. Yes you can add too much for sure. It depends what your compost is made of as well as how often you add it so I cant really answer. But just know that yes, lots of tops and no root development = either poor soil (not you!) or imbalanced soil too much nitrogen and locked up phosphorus which could be too much or too little.
      Try making a new bed starting on ground with a compost heap, grow a heavy feeder then without adding a thing – sow beetroot. See what you get.
      Enjoy the ride

  21. Sue Patterson says

    Hi Kath, I know that the question of hothouse garlic growing to avoid rust got raised earlier in the year on your blog, so wanted to give some feedback. I have grown garlic (NZ Purple and Red Russian) in large pots on my covered deck this year – 6 to a pot – and have just begun harvesting the NZ Purple, planted on 1 April. Good result! The plants have been healthy with no sign of rust, even though the patio blinds have been mainly open during the day since early October (in Christchurch) – and I moved the pots onto the outer uncovered deck a few weeks ago thinking it might be getting a bit hot inside. I think I could probably have left them in there and left the blinds open at night, but a bit of a conflict with all the Mediterranean veg in the deck space wanting it hotter!
    Grateful as ever for all your garlic advice – trying to get the drying and storing done right again this time.

    • Thanks so much Sue for sharing! You are modelling the very thing I wish for all gardeners – to observe and play! There is a new product on the market – a living biological soil fungi that is proving awesome against garlic rust when applied to the emerging shoots + a few follow up applications. Though easier by far to not buy something in and suss it out by cleverly moderating temperature and moisture such as you have done.
      I am re writing my garlic rust article as I find the time, always new learnings every season. Enjoy the crop! K x

      • Sue Patterson says

        Thanks, Kath. I will look out for that new product and let our daughter know – she is plagued with rust! Sue x

  22. Clare Pinder says

    Hi Kath
    I’ve been using heaps of horse manure in my compost. it seems to rot down really well with all the other yummy ingredients from my garden. However, the tomatoes I planted a few weeks back are showing hormone damage. Could this be from the drench that they give horses for worms? Or could it be that my husband sprayed the lawn for weeds about a year ago and I happened to spread that compost with the spray in it? My suspicion is that it is the residual spray even though it is a year old in well decomposing compost. Needless to say, there will be no lawn clippings going into my compost until four mows after any spray.

    • Hey Clare
      Could be either. Manure from drenched animals is like a bomb going off underground – I’d steer well clear OR let it rot down in a separate pile, drench with EM periodically and leave atleast a year before incorporating.
      Spray drift is an often un thought of culprit – those droplets travel far further than you’d imagine. Put a dye in it and you’ll soon see that. Sprayed clippings also – the spray impacts your whole system Clare – the health of your lawn connects intimately to the health of your garden. Either way I’d steer well clear of both sprays and drenches for best health.
      Best, Kath

  23. Hi Kath,
    Thanks as always for your fabulous advice and encouragement! Have kumara shoots waiting to plant but soil temp not been very warm so have covered beds with black polythene now to help. Question – can I plant kumara into this by cutting a cross and inserting slips or do I need to remove polythene and cover soil around plants with mulch (wondering how plants will be watered as they grow under a black plastic cover!) Have made raised mounds to plant into.
    Cheers, Maria