Officially December marks the start of winter and the time possibly, of least work for the gardener. Don't think, though, that you can totally give up on your garden and if, like me, you grow fruit and veg there is still plenty you can do in the garden this month. And hopefully still lots to harvest.
December jobs in the Vegetable and Fruit Garden
Vegetables and Fruit
- If your soil is not frozen or waterlogged you can dig over areas adding manure. Covering the soil with mulch or weed suppressing fabric will stop any weeds growing in mild weather.
|Manure added and waiting to be covered with fabric|
- Check stored vegetables and fruit for signs of rot
- Create trenches where you want to sow beans and add kitchen compost and/or well rotted manure
- Plant garlic and shallots if your soil is not waterlogged or frozen/covered in snow
- Keep harvesting but if heavy frost or snow is forecast then dig up a supply of winter veg (parsnips, leeks etc) for continuity of supply.
- Prune fruit trees
- Take hardwood cuttings of fruit bushes such as redcurrants and gooseberries
- Split rhubarb crowns
|Leeks, re-sprouted cabbage tops and brussels|
|Chard and self seeded parsley|
- Clean the polytunnel plastic
- Check for overwintering pests and outbreaks of mould on plants
- Ventilate on sunny days
- Sow broad beans, mangetout, oriental vegetables and winter lettuce.
- Have a good tidy up but remember to leave some wood piles etc for wildlife to shelter under
- Feed the birds - they are one of your best allies when it comes to eating garden pests later in the growing year
- Pack away hose pipes and lag taps to prevent frost damage
- Keep off the grass when it is frozen
- Repair any fences and vegetable supports
- Get in seed catalogues and start planning what you're going to grow next year.
Even if you can't do much by way of gardening, try and get outside and enjoy the winter garden. Take some frosty photos, draw up plans for any garden changes and enjoy what winter has to offer at a time when the gardening pressure is off a bit. Visit open gardens those that are not closed and you may well find you have the place to yourself.
There may not be the abundance of floral offerings that comes with summer's warmth but there are flowers out there. And don't be fooled, they may not be as showy as their summer cousins but what they lack in looks they sure make up for with scent. All these plants are in flower in winter and all have a scent that is sure to lift your spirits, what-ever the weather:
Viburnum × bodnantense - arrowwood
Vivurnum tinus - laurustinus
Hamamelis × intermedia - witch hazel
Sarcococca confusa - Sweet box
|Viburnun tinus (picture from Wikiperdia because mine was out of focus!)|
Oh and a few sneaky flowers are still being very showy like here, on the gite windowsill, with these lovely winter flowering violas.
Have you plans to get out in the garden this month and have you any more jobs I could add to my list? Why not wander on over to the How Does Your Garden Grow link up and see what other hardy gardeners are up to this December.