Top of the list this month…
Leave carrots in the ground until needed. To make lifting easier, cover the ground with a 15cm (6in) layer of straw, cardboard or bracken held down with netting or horticultural fleece. Apart from in very cold areas, carrots will keep in the ground until March if necessary.
Overwatering, fluctuating temperatures and draughts are the main problems for indoor plants as winter approaches. In centrally heated homes, brown leaves and leaf drop are common problems, so reduce watering and check room temperatures.
Now that many plants are returning indoors for the winter, regularly check for pests such as aphids, red spider mite, mealy bug and scale insects. Especially unwelcome visitors include vine weevil grubs which feed on plant roots, causing wilting and often plant death.
Water recently planted evergreens during dry spells, even in winter as they can dry out in windy conditions. Check for dryness even after rain, as it may not penetrate down to the roots sufficiently.
Plant out rhubarb crowns in an open position from November to March as long as the ground is not frozen.
Cut back herbaceous plants that are not needed for winter interest or food and habitat for wildlife but leave ornamental grasses to provide protection for overwintering beneficial insects.
Protect planted containers with bubble plastic or bring under temporary cover, particularly during prolonged rain when compost can become sodden. Remove pot saucers and raise pots off the ground on pot feet.
Take root cuttings of plants such as Japanese anemones, campanula, phlox and oriental poppies.
Check bonfires before they are lit for sheltering and hibernating animals, such as hedgehogs, toads and frogs.
Plant tulip bulbs now – later than most bulbs, but a late planting may help reduce problems with the disease tulip fire. Use only healthy, undamaged, mould-free bulbs and plant at a depth of two or three times the bulb height.