This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
In highly cultivated gardens, November is generally a busy month, as the work for a future season may be said to fairly commence then. There is also much storing to be done, and protecting and clearing off the remains of the past season's crops; and every means should be used to forward operations before winter sets in. Wheeling out manure, trenching, and otherwise preparing ground, may now be carried on judiciously and with all haste. It is also a good time to make arrangements for next year's cropping. A rough sketch of the ground and what it grew last season might be put on paper, and the necessary changes for next season also noted down. This saves much trouble, and reduces the management to great simplicity. Systematic cropping is of great advantage - especially where gardens are limited in space. It is well to arrange to have the root-crops by themselves; and where several crops are to come in at the same time, such as Celery, Leeks, Brussels Sprouts, and late Brocolis (which are winter crops), it makes easy work to turn over the soil after their removal, as great breadths can be done at one time, and the same ground answers for a number of summer and autumn crops, and can be manured accordingly.
Where manure has been freely used the previous season, it may be withheld if the succeeding crop is not to be of an exhausting nature. Lime and sand in moderate quantities may be used freely in very heavy soil; and if the bottom is of a sandy nature, some of it may be incorporated with the surface with great advantage. Light sandy soils may be improved with a little clay placed on the surface, exposed to the winter's frost, and then well worked in with rotten manure; this will do much to improve the ground. Mud from the bottoms of ponds, or rivers, sweetened by frost, is of great service when used on poor light land. Some old fruit-tree borders here, trenched up and dressed in this way, produced excellent Kidney and Forty-fold Potatoes; after which were sown Turnips and Spinach, which promise to do good service all through the winter. While advocating the mixing of soils when entirely of an opposite nature to each other, I am strongly opposed to bringing up unhealthy subsoil unnecessarily to mix with good soil, as the mischief might not be overcome for years. The sowing of early Peas and Beans will now require attention. A warm sheltered spot, well turned up, should be chosen, and the seed sown (more thickly than usual) on the surface in drills and the earth drawn over.
Where mice or other vermin may be troublesome, chopped furze thrown over the seed will keep them off. Red-lead sprinkled over before covering up often answers well. Keep Spinach, autumn-sown Onions, and other crops free from weeds, with a well-broken surface. Quantities of Parsnips, Chicory, Horse-Radish, etc, should be taken up. in order to have a store on hand when frost sets in. Chicory (which is very wholesome in salad) when wanted for use, may be taken up and the tops trimmed off, and the roots placed in soil, where the tops will become blanched by being in the dark. A little warmth will bring them quickly into use. Brocoli coming into use can be lifted to save it from frost; it may be stored in a cellar, shed, or outhouse, keeping the roots and leaves entire. Where late Brocolis have grown strong, they are in danger of being destroyed by severe weather. They may be laid down with their heads from the sun, thus checking their growth. Where there are vacant spaces, such as where Peas have been cleared off, the late Brocolis may be thinned out and transplanted; damp and frost do great damage to strong gross plants. In dry weather all the Brassica tribe should be gone over and their decaying leaves taken off, as they would soon be offensive.
Celery will require earthing-up to blanch it, keeping the hearts together and free from soil. Quantities lifted up with balls and placed in close quarters will keep well for weeks, and can be easily got at in severe weather. Endive and Lettuce tit for use may be lifted and placed under protection: an earth-pit with glass lights answers well for this purpose. Plenty of air in fine weather is necessary to keep the plants from decaying. Tomatoes (in positions not likely to ripen) should be taken into heat and they will soon change colour; when they are grown in pots they are easily removed to safe quarters. Mustard, Cress, and "Thread" Onions may be sown in small quantities, as demand requires. Sowing in boxes or pots, and placed in heat anywhere, and brought to light and air after the leaves begin to form, is a simple method of keeping up supplies. Rhubarb may be lifted for forcing - a few roots placed in a cellar, or where 55° to 60° of heat can be given; keep the roots close together, and slightly cover them with a little soil, litter, leaves, moss, or anything to retain moisture, and frequently sprinkle with tepid water. If the produce is wanted early, extra heat must be given, but the Rhubarb will then not be so large.
Rhubarb, unlike Seakale, does not require blanching, but is better flavoured when grown in light and air: pots placed over the crowns, and manure used for warmth, is an old simple plan, but gives a good deal of labour, and is untidy-looking in gardens. Where there is a manure-heap, the roots can be carried there, and placed together in a box, and covered over with manure - it gives less labour to wheel the roots than the manure. When roots are done with, they should be hardened slowly, and then kept for dividing, to make fresh plantations. Seakale may be lifted in quantity. If it is not wanted before the end of the year, forcing need not begin till the middle of the month. Like Rhubarb, it is easier managed when lifted. In large places, Mushroom-houses are generally used for forcing it into use, but amateurs and others may have it in a stable or any outhouse, if placed in a box in soil of any kind, and kept close, dark, and moist, with heat about 55° to 60°. The white tops will soon be fit for use; when allowed to grow more than 6 inches high, it becomes weak and worthless.