November Garden in the Northern Hemisphere

If Novem is the Latin word for nine, then why is November the eleventh month of the year?

It all started in 46 B.C, when Julius Caesar asked the astronomer Sosigenes to review the calendar and improve it.

Calendars are systems for measuring and recording the passage of time. Nature gives us a regular sequence of seasons. Since nature controls the supply of natural foods, a calendar was one way for humans to prepare for winter with a little forethought.

At first humans followed the solar year by the changing position of the moon and sun. The first calendar was a lunar calendar that noted the changing position and shape of the moon. That calendar came up about 11 days shorter than the true solar year.

The Romans borrowed their first calendar from the Greeks. The first Roman calendar had 10 months. Julius Caesar worked hard on the calendar. He’s the one who finally settled on twelve months. When that happened, November–which was once the ninth month–became the eleventh month.

Julius Caesar named a new month, July, after himself. The emperor after him Augustus Caesar named August after himself. When the Roman Senate offered to name a month after the next emperor Tiberius Caesar, Tiberius declined and quipped, “What will you do if you have thirteen emperors?”

November originally had thirty days, then the Romans calendar makers changed it to twenty-nine and then to thirty-one. Since the time of Augustus Caesar, November has had thirty days.

November is the month between autumn and winter. It is the month when the last leaves of autumn fall from the trees but the true cold and snow of winter has yet to arrive.

The Anglo-Saxons called November “the wind month”. This is the time of year when there is hazy sunshine and days can turn blustery.

November harvest in the Northern Hemisphere

Here is list of some of the vegetables and fruits that will come to harvest in November: Vegetables: beets (beetroot), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot, celeriac, chilies, Chinese cabbage, corn, kale, lettuce, parsnip, peas, peas, purslane, radish, rutabaga (Swede), spinach, turnips. Fruit: late apples, avocadoes, banana, feijoa, guava, early kiwifruit, kumquat, limes, melons, early mandarins, olives, late Valencia oranges, early navel oranges, late passionfruit, pomegranate, late raspberries, tamarilloes, tangeloes.

November planting in the Northern Hemisphere by region:

Cooler northern regions–Zones 3-6: Vegetables: cress, lettuce, shallots, spinach.

Temperate Regions–Zones 7-9: Vegetables: artichoke suckers, broad beans, cress, leek, lettuce, mustard, onion, peas, radish, shallots, spinach, spring onion. Herbs: caraway, chives, hyssop.

Subtropical and Tropical Regions–Zones 10-12: Vegetables: asparagus, beans, beet (beetroot), broad beans, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cress, endive, lettuce, mustard, onion, spring onion, parsnip, peas, potatoes, radish, shallots, Swiss chard (silverbeet), spinach, strawberry runners, tomato, turnip. Herbs: angelica, basil, borage, caraway, celeriac, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, parsley, salad burnet, thyme.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

spring planting

November Garden in the Southern Hemisphere

Greens and roots in the late autumn garden

November Vegetable Garden Almanac