December means garden break? Far from it, because even now there are so many things you could do outside, and in some cases have to. So if you have a garden, you don’t have long to rest on your laurels. Instead, there’s tending and preparing and yes – even sowing, planting and harvesting! We have summarized below which gardening tasks are due in December. Take proper care of useful and ornamental plants, as well as the hidden inhabitants of your garden.
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The edible plants in the garden
Most of the vegetable beds are empty, the trees are bare and in hibernation – at first glance, there is nothing to do. But appearances are deceiving, because now you can diligently sow winter vegetables or harvest those already sown, and the fruit trees could give you unexpected blossom joy. How to. Read on and take care of the following gardening in December:
December gardening for vegetables and spices
You can harvest:
Winter vegetables that you planted in the fall can already be harvested in December. These include kale, Brussels sprouts, endive, beets, savoy cabbage, leeks, mushrooms, chicory and lamb’s lettuce. Even spinach and celeriac are seasonal vegetables, although you will need a greenhouse or harvest them before the first frost if they are grown outdoors (you can also protect them with a cover). Choose frost-free days for harvesting.
You can sow the following vegetables as part of your December gardening:
Carrots, radishes and black mustard can be sown, but be sure to do so before the first ground frost. The same applies to garlic. Here, however, be sure to choose a very frost-hardy variety to guarantee that the bulbs will survive the winter if you stick them in this late.
If you have a raised bed, be sure to take advantage of it, because it would be too bad to just leave it empty. What you may not have known is that the soil there is about 5 degrees warmer than in the classic garden bed. Thus, it is best suited for winter vegetables that are less sensitive to frost, such as spinach or endive.
Hardy rosemary (and Mediterranean ornamental plants)
Do not be fooled by the designation “hardy”. Because for all its tolerance to low temperatures, no variety will make it through the winter. That’s why this Mediterranean plant belongs in the tub and indoors from December at the latest. Oleander or orange trees also need it warmer from now on (oranges not below 5 degrees). Other more robust varieties can remain outside for some time with frost protection.
Care for fruit trees in the kitchen garden
In principle, there is not really anything to do in this area of the garden, unless you own scattered fruit. In that case, it’s worth thinning out the trees a bit, as this will encourage fruit formation in the spring.
- If you still have young fruit trees in your garden, part of your December gardening should be to protect them from frost, otherwise they could suffer damage that is unlikely to occur to older trees.
- Be sure to remove and dispose of rotting fruit on the trees to avoid disease.
- As long as the weather cooperates, that is, if it is mild and no frost is expected, you may even plant native fruit varieties. This is also true for rhubarb.
- Root cuttings can be used to propagate berry bushes such as raspberry and blackberry. December is optimal for this purpose.
Gardening in December – what to do regarding ornamental plants?
Do not forget about the lawn, unless it freezes.
If you have taken care of it adequately in November, the lawn will probably not be part of your gardening in December. At most, you might have to mow it one last time, because it shouldn’t be higher than 4 inches in the winter to avoid damage. It is important that you do this before the first snow. Also, remove the last leaves of leaves still to avoid rot.
Also try not to walk on the lawn when it is frozen.
What can you plant and sow?
Sow so-called cold seedlings while still in December. These, as the name suggests, need the cold to germinate. If the weather is still mild, you may also plant a woody plant or two: Bare-root roses, conifers, as well as other woody plants that are native and hardy.
What gardening tasks are due in December – Other important things.
Also, don’t forget the following gardening tasks in December to get your garden through the cold season well:
Water regularly during periods without precipitation
Yes, the summer heat is over, but that doesn’t mean there still can’t be dry spells. In such cases, watering is quite important. However, don’t do it if the ground is already frozen. On the one hand, the water then probably can’t penetrate deep enough into the soil to reach the roots anyway. For another, it could cause more layers of soil to freeze.
Snow protection for shrubs
Plants with long and/or frail branches are best tied together to make them more stable. Furthermore, or if tying them together is not possible, you can try to shake off the snow as quickly and carefully as possible so that the branches do not break under the load.
Dig up the soil in the flower beds.
You can dig up both vegetable and flower beds (one more time) before the first frost. This is especially beneficial if the soil is very clayey. This is because the chunks of soil then freeze in the winter and become “blasted”, so to speak, broken up and finer.
Less is more for birds and insects
Avoid major rearrangement work, as this could disturb the winter dormancy of insects and animals. Clean out nest boxes no later than fall, but not later, as other critters may have nested there. Put out birdseed and leave water in the birdbath for drinking. The feathered friends also use the water for bathing. Yes, even in winter! Because this stimulates the fat production, which is essential for survival.