gardening in tofino - november

Gardening in Tofino – November 2003

by Trina Mattson, Tofino


A whole lot of years ago, not that many people believed that you could garden in Tofino beyond maybe a lawn, and certainly not the kinds of gardens that are growing around here now. If you take the time to visit some of the phenomenal gardens that people have planted and maintained here, I think a pleasant surprise would be in store for you. And to take it one step further, who would've thought that gardening here in November would be at all possible.

I remember growing up here (Or at least trying to) and it seemed like as soon as school started so did the rain, and about the end of November it would start to snow, not heavy, but enough that you could make a snow cone and not eat dirt, then in January the rain would start in again and not quit until after April, now some of it is false childhood memories, but even now I have noticed weather pattern changes over the last several years. So with the mild fall weather that we've been having, there are still a few last minute chores that can be done, and really speaking, most gardens around here are just starting to go dormant anyway.

By now the Gunnera (humongous leafed plants) can be cut back to the crown, remove the stems and invert the leaves to create a natural blanket, used to protect the crown from freezing.

Spring bulbs are still available and can be planted until about the first week in December, and even later although this is not a great idea, it doesn't allow the bulb to form a good root system before cold weather really sets in.

The last of the fallen leaves still need to be raked up, and any decomposing matter from your pond should be removed and composted before it fouls at the bottom.

Any plants that you want to save for next year should be brought in, cleaned up, and properly stored for the winter like Tuberous Begonias, Geraniums, Dahlias, etc.

A light pruning on roses is okay, but I'd wait to do any heavy pruning until spring, and it wouldn't hurt to seal the fresh cuts with a seal and heal wound paint, this stuff will help to keep bugs and decay from the fresh cuts.

Spraying with a dormant oil spray on any disease sensitive trees and shrubs is a great deterrent for those over-wintering pests, and hopefully our weather will remain cooperative for a little while longer as spraying should be done on a fairly nice day with no threat of rain or wind.

And as we put away our gardening tools for the winter, make sure to give them a good scrub, to rid of any caked on soil, and a bit of an oil on any moving parts, sharpen up any cutting surfaces, and bed them down for a well deserved rest, because we all know that they have worked just as hard as we did to keep our gardens looking good, after all, I know I didn't stick my head in the dirt to dig a hole like my shovel did.

See you next spring!!!!

Trina Mattson runs the OCN Garden Center in Tofino. You can reach her by phone at (250) 725-4450.
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tofino time november 2003

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