ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

November: What Needs to Be Done in the Garden and on the Homestead in Upstate New York?

Updated on May 1, 2018
Fredrickvanek profile image

Fredrick Vanek is a former Market Gardener with over 40 years of experience in Organic food production and sustainable living.

Source

The North Country Book of Changes.

(Musings in the spirit, if not the eloquence, of Aldo Leopold and Thoreau.)

Source

Putting the garden to bed.

Feed the asparagus and rhubarb plants now. Use anything. I use rough compost; that which hadn’t completely broken down, or chicken coop litter. Just mound it right on top of the plants, burying them. A half bushel on each plant will reward you with vigorous plants next spring. This is a good place to dump your wood ash as well.

Wood ash: Spread it where you'll be growing melons, tomatoes, and Cabbage-family crops. Don't use it where you will be growing potatoes, and never on Blueberries.

If your ground isn't frozen yet, fork up the soil to expose insect larvae etc . Make sure your beds are level to avoid erosion. Clean up and toss on the compost heaps all the crop residue. Pests overwinter in the garden under it.

Cold frames for lettuces no longer need to be cracked open during the day. However, wait to harvest any greens until the afternoon when the temperature in the frames has been above freezing. Frozen lettuces don't recover well if cut.

Wrap your young fruit tree trunks with an rodent-proof wrap at least 2 feet off the ground. In snowless winters there is not usually much damage, but when there is a good snowpack the damage from meadow mice (voles) can be devastating. Below the snow. Rabbits gnaw bark and twigs too, but only above the snowline.

Source

Get the Chicken Coop Ready...And it is butchering time.


If you haven't changed out the coop's floor bedding; it's time. Dry fallen leaves are an excellent, free alternative to purchased shavings or hay/straw. It might take the foolish birds a little while to get used to it, the leaves being strange and making rustling sounds. But it is an excellent insulator, and by spring the birds will have pulverized and fertilized it thoroughly, making it ready for working in to the soil in the spring or making compost with. The nest box bedding should be changed if it hasn't been yet too.

Chickens do not need any heating, but they do need plenty of fresh air and yet have refuge from the wind. For being originally southern Asian birds, are remarkably inured to winter weather. On sub-zero nights I have seen them sleeping peacefully on their roosts with frost covering their backs; their feathers are that good an insulator.

I've always found it more practical to buy enough feed to get through the winter: Less concern about having to drive through snowstorms. Feed should be stored in metal trashcans, metal being the critical adjective. Woodrats (Neotoma floridana) will invariably find your coop and get into your feed if it isn't protected. The rats are not the only reason I suggest closing up the coop every night, but they are a main one. They only move at night, so closing up the coop will slow down their entry. As they chew right through wood about the only thing that will keep them out is to line the floor and walls with hardware cloth. (If you keep a light on in the coop that will keep them at least in the shadows. Like all rodents and disreputable people they hate the light.)


If you bought chicks in the spring, any you don't want to keep are ready for slaughter now. A very good beginners guide is "Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game" by John J. mettle, JR, D.V.M. (Available at https://www.amazon.com/Basic-Butchering-Livestock-Game-Poultry/dp/0882663917).

Make Sure Your Compost bins for the winter are Ready.

If you intend to continue making compost throughout the winter, you'll need not only enough bins to make the compost in, but an equal amount of bins or space to store the dry material used in making it. (Called “Cover Material” if you need a name for it: Such as hay, straw, flower garden clean-up debris, etc). This needs to be kept dry with either a tarp or something otherwise it will all freeze into an immovable mass.

Wherever the bins are, they need to be accessible even through the snows. And DO NOT throw meat or food scraps onto that pile. It WILL attract pests you don't want: Rats, possums, skunks or raccoon when there is a thaw, or dogs. However vegetable scraps are fine. We keep a small covered pail in the kitchen for that. When full it is tossed onto the compost heap then Cover Material is tossed on to hide it. Once a week the chicken manure from the coop is sprinkled on top too. Wood ash is better spread directly where its needed. (Finished compost is neutral in p.h. ) The piles will freeze solid, but in April or May they will thaw and begin to heat up.

Look to your bees and make sure they are prepared for winter.

Check that your mouse guards are in place. Some of the older Beekeepers up here who still retain the imprinting of so many of those harsh winters in the past still wrap their hives in tarpaper and fiberglass insulation, or just tarpaper. A few add a shallow super stuffed with hay above the top board on top of the hives. (The hay must be checked periodically and changed when it becomes soaked with the effects of the bees’ respiration.)

If we get a “Throw-back winter”, a regression to the old mean, such measures would help. However, over the last couple of decades the winters have been too warm for such measures. Those who wrapped their hives often found them dead after an unusually warm spell: The bees basically overheated in mid-winter and died.

Despite the possibility of an occasional bout of well-below zero temperatures in the future, I'd still recommend NOT wrapping your hives. As long as they are in a location with protection to the north and a southern exposure, they will do fine 9 out of 10 years. They have more problems now over-wintering what with Hive Collapse than cold weather.

It's a good habit to get into to put your ear to each hive and listen for them on a cold day. You'll be rewarded with a low, content hum from a healthy hive. If at first you hear nothing; give the hive a quick rap with your knuckles then listen again.

On mild sunny days, the bees will fly to defecate, and if the weather is mild, to find water.


Care of the woodpile and wood-cutting equipment.

If you burn wood, it is getting to be wood-cutting season. We always preferred to do our cutting beginning in late November and continuing till done, or when spring arrives, whichever comes first. If you buy cut and split wood now, it shouldn't be green unless you are getting in next year's wood for burning (which shows prudence).

For best burning the wood should be under cover of some sort, preferably under a roofed shed. Wood stacking safely requires a little attention to detail and knowledge of the stresses exerted by piled wood. Whenever possible stack between 2 immovable objects like load-bearing walls.

Regardless, its a good idea to build “Endcaps” to stack the wood between. Endcaps are built using wood that has been split fairly evenly, each tier stacked at 90 degrees to the one below it. If the wood is not resting steadily but rocks, shim it up with scraps of wood. Be aware the Endcaps need to be built straight up and down in all four directions. If it wants to tilt at all, make sure it is tilting in and back, not out and forward. Two well built Endcaps will hold a 8 foot wide, 6 foot tall wall of wood.

If stacking small diameter stove-wood which is not split, extra force is exerted sideways and forward by the cylindrical wood as it settles. This is very powerful and will topple even the best made stack in a month or so. When stacking wood like that use extra Endcaps in the center and/or stack some of the wood sideways to break up the direction of the stress.


Time to check your splitting mauls, axes, and wedges for sharpness and any cracks or chips. Rub wooden handles with an oil-soaked rag. Wind soft steel wire around the handles just below the heads to prevent damage to them because of hitting the wood.


Look over the chainsaws. Have dull chains sharpened or replaced. A dull chain makes an easy job hard and potentially dangerous. It saves time to mix up chainsaw fuel now, and make sure there is plenty of chain oil on hand.


For those few who cut with bucksaws, I will have an article on setting and sharpening them later.


A well-stacked store of firewood.
A well-stacked store of firewood. | Source
Stove-wood stacked to break up the side-to-side stresses.
Stove-wood stacked to break up the side-to-side stresses. | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)