Gardening Tips for December

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Nhe long-range weather forecast, at the moment, predicts a fairly settled and mild December. So, winter digging could continue late into the month, which also helps to expose hibernating grubs which the birds can then eat. Then cover the plot to prevent weed growth, minerals being leached out by rain, and to keep the soil warm, which helps with early planting in the spring.

For those days that are too wet or cold to go outside, you could do the following:

  • Consider what grew well this year and what you might plant next year: how about being a bit adventurous and trying something a bit out of the ordinary for a change? Here are some different vegetables you might like to try: celeriac, daikon radish (a huge radish that you can use in salads or stir fries), snake gourds, heritage crops such as purple carrots, rainbow sweetcorn and blue French climbing beans.
  • Clean and sharpen your garden tools, and clean seed trays, pots and other equipment to prevent any diseases carrying over to infect next year’s seedlings. Also give the shed a good tidy out and clean. There are very few crops that you can plant; however, if you have not planted them yet, you can plant garlic and onion seeds (which should be sown in trays or pots in a gentle heat towards the end of the year). New crowns of rhubarb can be planted, or existing ones divided and replanted; bare-root fruit trees and bushes, raspberry and blackberry canes can also still be planted.

Other jobs to do this month are: :

  • Continue topping up compost and leaf mould bins, making sure that you burn or discard any plant material that looks diseased.
  • Manure the vegetable plot, using well-rotted manure, no need to dig in.
  • Earth up Brussels sprouts stems to keep them secure from strong winds and remove any brown or yellow leaves; this will prevent the spread of grey mould.
  • Make sure your winter brassicas are netted to prevent pigeons eating them and check for and repair any holes.
  • Keep picking leeks and parsnips but if the weather is very wet check that the leeks are not getting waterlogged and rotting.
  • December is the ideal time to prune apples and pears, gooseberries and currants. Autumn raspberries can be pruned right back to ground level between now and February.

Well, the end of a strange year! Let’s hope that 2021 sees an improvement in our situation, but before then, enjoy some of the fruits of your labour on your Christmas dinner plate. 

A very Happy Christmas and a healthy and fruitful New Year to you all!


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