November can be a lull or lively time in the garden. If the weather allows, many jobs can be done now to improve next year's garden. Some jobs can even be done indoors so weather does not have to keep you from gardening pursuits.
It bears repeating - soil test.
No other tool provides the kind of information a soil test can. It identifies problems and charts a course for next year's fertility program.
Also, lime should be applied now (using recommendations from a soil test) so that it will have time to dissolve and become active before the spring garden. To have your soil tested, contact the Dawson County Extension Office at (706) 265-2442.
Make a garden plan for next year.
Note where certain crops are growing and do not replant those crops to the same sites.
Do not follow vegetables of one "family" by those in the same "family."
Following is a list of the most common vegetables and the family groupings they fall in:
• Legumes - beans and peas
• Cole crops - cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, turnip, mustard
• Vine crops - squash, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin
• Solanaceous crops - tomato, pepper, eggplant, potato
• Salad greens - lettuce, endive, escarole.
Remove and destroy crop and weed remains. They may harbor pests. It would be best to compost residues as this disposes of them and supplies compost for the yard and garden.
Take falling leaves and compost them or turn them into the garden.
If you till them into the garden, adding some fertilizer (7 pounds/100 square feet of 10-10-10, or 3 pounds/100 square feet ammonium nitrate) will help residues decompose.
Remove staking material, such as tomato cages, clean and store for next year. Clean hand tools and oil metal parts before storage.
If the soil is dry, till the garden in the winter. This exposes soil born pests to cold and drying weather.
Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706)265-2442.