December might not be the busiest month of the gardening year. But even in the deep mid winter, when most plants are dormant, there are still some things to do in your garden.
Today, I thought I would give you a list of a few garden jobs that you might think about taking on this month.
- Cover winter brassica growing outdoors with netting if birds such as pigeons are a problem where you live.
- Remove the yellow leaves from brassicas as these can harbour diseases and cause problems for your plants.
- Add extra protection for leafy winter greens if a particularly cold snap is on the horizon.
- Dig up any parsnips and leeks still in the garden before the ground freezes solid.
- If you planted potatoes for Christmas, dig these up now for Christmas dinner.
- Harvest Brussels sprouts and other brassicas for winter meals, and make use of crops stored over the winter months.
- If it snows, remove snow from your greenhouse or polytunnel so light can shine through, and to prevent damage.
- Keep checking on and tending overwintering crops under cloches or in your undercover growing area.
- Pick winter lettuces and other leafy greens in your undercover growing area.
- Prune fruit trees (except stone fruit trees like plum and cherry).
- Protect fig tree branch tips from frost with fleece or straw.
- Continue to plant bare root canes and berry bushes throughout the dormant season.
- Prune grape vines.
- Take the chance to renovate the strawberry patch, replacing ageing plants (those over three years of age) with new strawberry runners.
- Prune Japanese Maples (Acers) now, before sap starts to flow.
- Harvest holly and other evergreens with berries for Christmas decoration.
- Spread fresh grit or gravel around alpine plants.
- Plant some new shrubs for winter interest.
- Cluster containers and place them in a sheltered spot to help reduce the risk of frost damage.
Of course, the jobs that you take on this month will depend on where exactly you live, and what is already growing in your garden.
Remember, this is also a great month to take some time to look back on the previous gardening year. Think about what went well and what did not go according to plan, and how you might improve things next year. It’s also a good time to look forward, and to plan and plot for next year in your garden.