November is cool. The barometer falls to an average high of 73 this month, in my yard, which is about the same as most yards in Southern California. And the average daily evapotranspiration rate is only 0.08 inches in November, a threefold decrease compared to the height of summer. (Except during Santa Anas!)

November is cool. You can still be harvesting tomatoes while also bringing in first heads of broccoli from the garden. You can eat late apples and early mandarins. In this way, November is a strange period of overlapping harvests.

Kids hold Champion tomato and Packman broccoli, harvested back in November 2016.
Pink Lady apple and Kishu mandarin harvested in November.

November is cool. You barely have to water. Finally, after our long dry summer which revolves around irrigation, you get to stroll through the garden and watch the plants grow with little and infrequent need of your help. Handwatering is now a pleasure.

Why stop wearing the costume after Halloween?

November is sowing more carrots. November is planting garlic. November is grape leaves falling. November is sprinkling California poppy seeds as the first rains fall. November is oranges turning orange. November is loquat trees flowering.

Honeybee and loquat flowers in November.

November is rediscovering your socks and sweatshirts. November is making the first fire in the fireplace. November is cleaning rain gutters and screens on rain tanks. November is remembering how long shadows can get. November is harvesting for Thanksgiving, the best meal of the year. November is digging up sweet potatoes.

Time to dig up those sweet purples. Mash with a dash of cinnamon for Thanksgiving.

Gardeners in most parts of the U.S. have wrapped up the year by November. In Southern California in November, however, we have so much to do. We can:

Sow and plant:

– Beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro, garlic, greens (chard, collards, kale, mustard), kohlrabi, lettuce, onion, parsley, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach, turnips

(See my list of vegetable posts for tips on growing these crops in Southern California)

Harvest and eat:

– Vegetables: sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, beets, peppers, squash, basil, beans, corn, greens, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower

(My cauliflower harvest for Thanksgiving 2020)

– Fruits: passion fruit, apples (Pink Lady, Granny Smith), persimmons, pomegranates, mangos, mandarins (Kishu, Satsuma), cherimoyas, guavas, avocados (Mexicola Grande, and maybe early Bacons and Fuertes)

(See my post “When to pick oranges and tangerines.”)

Inca Red cherimoya.
Aromatic guava bite.
One of my Thanksgiving traditions is to pick the first Fuerte avocado of the season. This is my pick on Thanksgiving 2020.


Have you turned off automatic irrigation? This time of year, as alluded to above, I water most of my yard manually since plants need water much less frequently and there is intermittent rain — or at least clouds.

Finally, peanuts! In 2017, we tried growing them for the first time, and it was in November that we harvested them. The boys shelled and ate them raw as soon as we pulled them up. My wife and I roasted ours. I never imagined the common peanut could be so flavorful.

November is so cool.

All of my Yard Posts are listed HERE

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