What to Sow in Novembers ls A Frequent Online Question From Those Those Have Just Obtained The Keys To Their First Allotment. My First Answer Is Not To Be In A Hurry As November Is a Quieter Month For Sowing BUT ….There Are Many Options.

Bear in mind that I’m located in Devon and your conditions may not be as good as mine at this time to year. However, the climate is warming and what wasn’t possible a few years ago is now possible in some areas. if in doubt try a pinch of seed and see what happens. If it works then expend the quantity next year.

Let’s start with my November Pea and Beans Favourites to Sow in November.

Broad beans

Broad beans such as ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ can be direct sown in the garden soil in November. Alternatively sow them in modules or pots for transplanting later.

Your exact planting date depends on your location and the weather. I know many people sow in October. When I’ve tried this, in my mild Devon coast garden, they mature and flower far too early. So experiment with dates for your location.

Peas

What to Sow in November & December, Peas
What to Sow in November & December, Peas

Sow peas such as ‘Meteor’ outdoors for an early crop next year. Or try Alderman or Mangetout for pea shoots. With pea shoots you can have a crop very quickly if you do them in containers in the greenhouse or indoors.

Chick Peas

Here’s a pea variation that few people try. Germinate chick peas on the window sill for eating as pea shoots.

This year I’ve also tried a container of October sown chick peas outdoors and I’l be sowing more in November. Again the idea is to produce pea shoots, but this time outdoors.

The great thing about chick peas is that I buy them by the 2 kg bag and cook the ones I don’t grow. They are very low cost to buy in bulk from my local Asian store.

Spring onion

Sowing spring or salad onions now for an early spring crop is fine. The very early crops are sometimes harvested when small and are referred to in the trade as bootlaces. But they grow fast as the weather warms up.

A few leaves can be removed as a cut and come again crop over winter, once the crop is robust enough.

My favourite variety is White Lisbon but you might also like to try ‘Performer’. Both are available from most seed houses.

Pak choi

Best grown under cloches outdoors in my area. But they do well in greenhouses or cold frames as well.

Garlic

You can plant garlic cloves in modules in a cold frame or cold greenhouse in November. Or if you live in a mild area, plant in their final positions outdoors. You do need good free-draining soil and low rainfall for this to be successful most years.

Rhubarb

None of the boxes or catalogues I look at suggest this but I find rhubarb does very well if the seed is sown now. It’ll germinate in an unheated greenhouse if the weather is reasonable … though it takes a bit longer than if germinated indoors. Sown in modules it’ll grow well for several weeks before needed to be transplanted into pots for planting in a nursery bed in spring. It’ll crop the following year.

Onion

Several varieties or overwintering onion can be sown this month.

Shallot

Shallot are another seed that can be sown now.

I sow both shallot and onions in modules at the time of year for planting as soon as I can get on the land in late winter. Multi-sown is fine and noted don’t need thinning when planted as they wil spe=ace themselves as they grow.

Kale

Several types of kale can be sown now for growing on in a greenhouse for harvesting as baby kale or for planting out later in the winter .. as soon as they are strong enough to survive the weather.  

Sowing in November For The Greenhouse or Indoors

Mizuna

Pots of herbs sown in a heated greenhouse or on a bright windowsill indoors soon germinate. And many need little heat to get going.

Chillis? 


I see several people suggesting we sow chilis in November. And it makes me ask several questions. Firstly why bother? You would, of course, get an earlier crop, but you have to keep them indoors or a heated greenhouse and they get quite big as they grow. OK they could fit a large windowsill, so its possible.
But why limit it to chilis? They are the same family as peppers and no one seems to suggest them. All the reasons to grow early chilis seem to match the reasons to grow early peppers.  Of course, peppers and chillis are perennials. So you could have overwintered a plant from last year if you wanted really early peppers or chilis.  
And if you do this with peppers why not start really early tomatoes?  Personally, I’ll leave all the Solanaceae family until next spring.

Herbs

Why not try Coriander, Basil, Parsley, Chives or Dill for starters.

Salad leaves to Sow in November – A Reminder

Salad leaves such as lettuce, land cress, lambs lettuce, mizuna, spinach, Chinese Cabbage and mustard are ideal for sowing in the greenhouse or cold frame in November. See out How to Grow Winter Salads article. I sowed over 20 salad leaf varieties in October and am sowing more of the same in November. I use them to fill in any gaps I create when harvesting earlier crops, and, with some varieties plant outside under fleece. This may surprise many people as they think many said leaf crops such as lettuce are very tender. In my experience of growing them commercially in Bedfordshire that is not the case. Early plantings, sometimes in late February but more usually in March survive all sorts of weather. Under fleece they do not suffer much physical damage. But planted with no protection from the elements I’ve seen large beds of lettuce have their leaves stripped by the wind leaving what looks like an empty field. Move forward a month or so and they reshoot and grow on to crops of supermarket quality for May harvest.

Winter Salads

Many of my autumn sown salads for growing in my greenhouse were sown a few while ago. But it’s not too late to sow modules now for planting later in the winter. Most species/varieties will not mature until spring but, with global warming and warmer winters, I’m finding that crops that wouldn’t have made it a few years ago cope quite well now.

My November sowing list for winter salads include about a dozen brassica species including favourites such as mizuna, mibuna, oriental mustards, spinach, watercress, land cress and various lettuce varieties to name but a few.

Here’s a link to my winter grown salad crops.

Lettuce

Bearing the above in mind let’s consider lettuce. Far too many seed companies recommend lettuce are sown between March and August to September. As someone that grew half a million lettuce a year over several decades I have to say that is total rubbish!

Lettuce survive all winter in my unheated greenhouse
Lettuce survive all winter in my unheated greenhouse

Lettuce can be sown every month of the year. Indeed, though they germinate faster with a little gentle heat, last year I experimented and germinated lettuce in my unheated greenhouse every month of the year.

Lettuce will grow all winter and withstand frost when young plants. Naturally growth is much slower when the light and temperature levels are lower. But I’d still sow a few to fill in gaps as other crops come to an end. The seed is very low cost and you’ve little to lose.

Microgreens, Sprouted Seeds and Microplants

When the weather is poor, esoecially cold and wet as it often is in the UK, we can still “garden” indoors. Sow microgreens, sprouted seeds and start microplants off indoors. Normal room temperature is enough for them. And if light levels are low for the microgreens don’t worry, though they etiolate they taste just as good.

I’ve written more on microgreens and the other indoor edible plants on another post. just follow the link.

Vegetables Grown The Non Traditional Way

Often I get people say I am sowing various crops too early or out of season. And in one sense these people are correct IF I intended to grow them conventionally of for traditional reasons.

So, for example, I could some beetroot on Christmas Day and people will say that it’s too early. And for growing conventional roots they are correct. But when I sow beetroot in December it is for leaves. Beetroot leaves make a tasty and colourful salad leaf when sown any month of the year! Lots of other veg crops can also be used in non traditional ways.

What will you Sow in November?

That’s all for What to Sow in November for now. But watch out for more monthly sowing and planting guides.

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3 thoughts on “What to Sow in November: In UK Gardens, Greenhouses, Tunnels, Balconies & Windowsills

  1. andrew woelfell. Dawlish says:

    Hi all, I have my harvest of shallots that haven’t been out of the ground very long what is the best size for the next crop small medium or large to plant up??

    1. Stefan Drew says:

      Buy in whatever size suits you best. Or grow from seed. I grow a lot of Figaro shallots from seed.

  2. Snoop says:

    Really interesting. I’d be glad to read a piece on growing black-eyed beans.

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