Thursday, 3 December 2015

18 December Gardening Tips

Hello December!

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

Winter cabbage

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.

And finally

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.

Oh and smell the flowers ... 

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 x confusa
Sarcococca x confusa
Sarcococca x confusa
Daphne bholua -Nepalese paper plant or Daphne
Chimonanthus praecox - wintersweet
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. 

Mammsaurus HDYGG


  1. good to see your garden doing well..thanks for the tips...looking forward to actually having a garden from next month after we move...again!

    1. Oooh, exciting and good luck with the move and the garden!

  2. Definitely important to feed the birds! Must save your list too of fragrant winter flowers.

    1. I've just bought fat balls for our birds and hope if I high them in a spindly tree they'll be safe from Saari and the cats.

  3. I have just googled Wintersweet - liking the look of that a lot! I love a good scent, hyacinths in Spring always do it for me. I have been known to sniff flower displays in shops too...
    But enough about my freaky ways...
    I have bulbs to plant (late as always) and the grass has needed cutting for 3 months now but it's too long and the weather never dry for more than a day at the moment. That's my excuse anyway. At this rate I'll need a couple of goats to help keep it down!
    It never ceases to amaze me how busy you get in the garden - inspiring!
    Thanks for joining in again Rosie x
    (dare I ask how Ginger is?!)

    1. Ginger lives (for now) and to be honest, with the mild weather we have been having you won't have a probem planting your bulbs late.

  4. It's strange how i'm doing the exact opposite in regards to gardening, yet we are both in the northern hemisphere, i bought some hyacinths recently and daffodil bulbs

    1. I am jealous that you are getting busy with the garden ... and also slightly relieved that I am in a quieter period!

  5. Aha - Rhubarb crown splitting time. That's good news as I want to move mine over to the allotment, but first I have to clear some space. I remember reading something about leaving the crowns out in the frost too (not that we've had any yet) I'll have to check on that. A lot of my winter gardening is from the armchair usually, and hopefully I'll still manage some of this :)

  6. Those flowers look amazing, beautiful pictures

    1. There is a Viburnum tinus by our post box and I do have to have a sniff every time I get the post!

  7. i imagine you always have something to do and you are always in the garden keeping busy. no matter what season it is

    1. I do and with the polytunnel I can even garden in the rain. That said if it is raining VERY hard it gets too noisy in there!

  8. We've been so busy on the allotment the last couple of weeks but I fear the rain will defeat us this week. Back to the seed catalogues then!