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Gardening Month by Month – is our gardening checklist with some reminders and some tips to help you in any particular month about your garden, allotment, greenhouse, pond and general garden maintenance jobs, that can and perhaps should be carried out. This month (December) we will see what needs your attention.

Gardening Month by Month – December

December is a crucial month for gardeners as they prepare for the winter season and make necessary adjustments to their gardening routine. In many regions, December marks the beginning of the coldest period of the year.

Despite the cold weather, there are still tasks that can be accomplished in the garden during December. This includes planning for the upcoming spring season, such as ordering seeds and bulbs, as well as taking care of any remaining fall cleanup tasks. Additionally, December is a great time to focus on indoor gardening, such as tending to houseplants and starting seeds for early spring planting.

Checkout Our December Gardening Checklist:

In December: Garden, Allotment, Flowers, Greenhouse.

December is a month for pruning, pruning, pruning! In December most plants are resting (dormant) your trees and shrubs will have an easier time recovering from a ‘hard’ prune while it is dormant. However, some like magnolias, and cherry trees should be pruned after they bloom in early spring.

With darker days and as the weather starts to turn cold and even possibly snowy, it’s a great time to start planning your garden for next year.

However, there’s much work that needs to be done now before the next year comes around! If you need an escape from all the Christmas preparations, your garden offers the perfect place to go.

As the Christmas season is getting closer! We have the perfect gifts for garden lovers be they family or friends if you looking for that special Christmas gift for somebody.

  • With the weather less favourable, why not browse through seed catalogues so you know what plants are best suited for your garden, borders and vegetable patch for the coming season?
  • Continue from last month to sow sweet peas, place seeds in deep pots with multi-purpose compost in an unheated greenhouse and cover them over with a clear plastic bag to start them off. Once germinated you can remove the bag.
  • Tidy up and re-gravel around your alpine plants and or rockery if you have one.
  • To keep things ticking along in the propagator, it is still possible to sow some flower seeds this month. You can sow coleus, cyclamen and geranium seeds now in a heated propagator.
  •  If you have areas that are empty, like borders, why not dig them over and prepare for the following year?
  • To encourage some vigour in your deciduous plants, roses, wisterias, honeysuckle, and others, would benefit from a ‘good’ hard prune at this time of year.
  • It’s a good idea to leave any ‘fading’ heads on your Hydrangeas, perhaps until early spring. This will protect the ‘growing’ buds further down the stem.
  • Continue to take some hardwood cuttings, from any suitable trees or shrubs.
  • Are you storing Dahlia tubers? Give them a quick once-over for possible rot.
  • Try sowing a few mint, dill and or chive seeds in a pot on a sunny window sill.
  • December is the last month to protect plants and pots that are vulnerable to frost damage.  Mulch borders and gather outdoor pots together for protection from the elements.
Gardening Month by Month - December

Gardening Month by Month – December: Do Not Prune Faded Hydrangeas, They Will Help Protect The Buds Below From Harsh Weather

Alpine Beds and Rockery- Gardening Month by Month - December

Gardening Month by Month – December: Alpine Beds And Rockeries Can be Cleaned And Re-Gravelled

In December: Fruit & Veg

  • December can be the time to start harvesting winter vegetables like sprouts and parsnips. Better to leave them until after the first hard frost for better-tasting vegetables.
  • To aid the harvesting of things like parsnips, for instance, place ‘straw’ around their base to stop the soil from freezing. This should make harvesting them easier later in winter. 
  • Growing Rhubarb? Then it’s time to divide and re-plant your rhubarb this month.
  • To prevent fungal diseases such as ‘grey mould’ and ‘downy mildew’ from taking hold, it’s important to remove ‘yellowed’ leaves on brassicas before the leaves drop.
  • Start to plan next year’s soft fruit crops like strawberries and vegetable crops and order your seeds as required.
  • To keep your Brussels sprouts upright and sturdy in strong winds, tie them with a cane. To add stability make sure you ‘earth up’ each stem. 
  • Grapevines will be healthier if you prune them by mid-December. Cutting back side branches to one or two buds from the main stem can help you maintain a better shape for your vine.
  • Winter pruning large fruit trees like apples and pears is a good way to control their shape and size, which will allow for increased productivity.
Strawberries- with straw mulch

Gardening Month by Month – December: Order Your Seeds For The Following Year. Strawberries Are Great Soft Fruits to Grow From Seed.

Runner Beans _Garden Junkie

Gardening Month by Month – December: Order your runner beans seeds this month, the seedlings should not be planted out until the frosts are over.

In December: Pond Care

  • If you want to continue feeding your Koi in the winter, then use sinking pellets. These are a great way to feed your fish during the winter months. They will sink to the bottom in the warmer waters where you want them, not just near the surface as regular food does!
  • December is the time to start planning for a pond or any pond improvements for the following year. The planning may include buying more fish, building a wildlife pond extending your current pond and or adding a water feature. December is a good month to start.
  • Early December is the last period to clean your pond before the water temperature falls below 10°C (50°F). This is important because fish will be less likely to sustain injuries when scooped up, as they are still reasonably active.
  • Remove non-hardy aquatic plants. Move any hardy aquatic plants to deep water to stop the roots from freezing.
  • If you haven’t got a pond net already, consider putting one over your pond. The presence of fish in a pond makes them vulnerable to predation because of the lack of vegetation, so a net will be a great help.
  • A frozen pond surface traps carbon dioxide, so it’s crucial to keep your pond free of ice, so oxygen can continue entering the water. This is vital for fish survival! Tip: To stop your pond from freezing over during the harsh winter months, try placing a tennis ball in the pond.
Pond Net Over a Pond

Gardening Month by Month – December: Try Placing a Pond Net Over Your Pond To Avoid Fish Predation

In December: General Garden Maintenance

  • December and the coming winter months are a harsh time for our wildlife in particular our birds. On very frosty cold days, put out fresh clean water for them.
  • There are many ways to keep our feathered friends happy! For example, hang fat balls from trees for the birds. Or if you have a bird table ensure that they are well stocked with seeds and nuts so they have enough food.
  • December cold weather is a perfect time to do some gardening and work off that pre and post-Christmas excess.  Order well-rotted manure or mushroom compost to dig in over the winter or incorporate your garden compost into the soil so it has the nutrients for growth in the coming months.
  • Continue to clear up any fallen leaves from the garden and pond, then add them to your compost heap.
  • Fences, decks, trellises and pergolas are all integral parts of your garden. Before it’s too late carry out any repairs needed now before they collapse and more serious damage may occur. 
  • Possibly your garden shed has tools that you do not use or are broken perhaps. Time to empty that shed and clean out all the unwanted tools you don’t use. The Conservation Foundation receives tools donations of old and or broken tools for prisoners to repair, which then go to local schoolchildren and community groups.
  • Your secateurs have been in use a lot over the 11 months. Of course, you know sharp secateurs are far superior to blunt ones. Time to clean your blades, remove any plant sap and sharpen secateur blades with a whetstone.
  • If you notice any pests overwintering on your plants, small infestations of red spider mites, greenflies and whiteflies can quickly spread.
  • Order summer-flowering bulbs such as Allium, Oriental Lily, Freesia and Gladioli.
  • You can’t be too careful with a tree in winter. Make sure your stakes and ties are sturdy enough to withstand stormy winter conditions.
Man Repairing a Fence

Gardening Month by Month – December: Carryout Any Repairs on Fences, Trellis and Pergolas

FAQ’s

What Are Some Tips For Maintaining The Lawn In December

In December, it’s advisable to keep off the lawn during frosty or waterlogged conditions to prevent damage. Additionally, clearing fallen leaves, aerating the lawn if conditions allow, and mowing on dry days are important for lawn maintenance.

How Can I Encourage Wildlife To Visit My Garden In December

To attract wildlife to your garden in December, consider providing food and fresh water for birds, as well as creating sheltered areas for small mammals and insects. Additionally, leaving some areas of the garden undisturbed can provide habitats for wildlife during the winter months. 

Can I Plant Fruit Trees In December

December is a suitable time for planting bare-root fruit trees, such as apples, pears, and cherries, provided the ground is not frozen or waterlogged. It’s important to ensure that the planting site has well-prepared soil and good drainage.