Gardening in December: gardening tips

When December comes to the fore, we tend to have our minds occupied with the organization of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, happy to be able to enjoy delicious moments with family or friends. We are therefore far from worrying about gardening work. Besides, is there really something to do in the garden in December? The answer is yes, and there is no shortage of occupations, whether in the vegetable garden, the orchard or the ornamental garden. This is what we will see.

December: what to do in the vegetable garden?

In the kitchen garden in December, the tasks are certainly less numerous than before, but the gardener still has enough to spend time outside.

  • Continue harvesting cabbages, salsify, beets, leeks, turnips, golden ball turnips, parsnips, carrots and other winter vegetables.
  • Store vegetables that can be stored locally.
  • Ventilate the greenhouse as soon as the weather is sunny and close it before the end of the afternoon.
  • Apply manure to the ground only if it is not frozen, otherwise wait for better days.
  • Pull out plants from the garden that are wilted if they are annuals and also pull out dead biennials.
  • Clean all areas of the vegetable garden that are not cultivated.
  • Weed the vegetable garden and the paths.

After having taken care of the vegetable garden for a good part of the day, sometimes under an icy wind, the gardener can finally enjoy his long evenings in front of the fireplace.

December in the orchard: what gardening work?

In the orchard, there are many tasks to perform, such as:

  • Treat fruit trees against pests and diseases using a sprayer to evenly distribute the liquid in fine rain.
  • Plant:
    • Hazel,
    • Gooseberry,
    • Apple tree,
    • Pear tree,
    • To fish,
    • Apricot tree,
    • Plum tree,
    • Cherry tree,
    • Plum tree.
  • Remove lichens and mosses covering tree trunks with a brush.
  • Make (once every 3 years) a good cleaning of the bark of the pear tree and of any pome tree if it is raised, by passing the trunk and the branches with the brush to quackgrass in order to dislodge the pests so that they ‘they cannot spend the winter under the pieces of bark. This muscular cleaning eliminates what is resistant to insecticides in sprays.
  • Burn any pieces of bark that have fallen to the ground after brushing trees.
  • Apply a healing agent to any wounds caused by brushing.

Finally, do not forget to shelter all citrus fruits, some in a cold greenhouse, others in a hot greenhouse. We must be particularly vigilant because winter is a difficult season for potted plants frost protection including the famous citrus fruits. The substrate should not be too wet, the room deserves to be ventilated regularly in dry and sunny weather in order to minimize the risk of gray rot. It is also necessary to inspect the plants in order to dislodge common pests in winter in confined areas, such as mealybugs, shield mealybugs, black aphids, spider mites.

December: what to do in the ornamental garden?

It is during the month of December that we can tackle the following various tasks.

  • Weed massifs, flowerbeds, rockery …,
  • Amend the soil in areas intended for the cultivation of ornamental plants,
  • Prune the summer flowering Clematis,
  • Winterize Dahlia tubers that fear cold and humidity,
  • Cut down the Phlox (which should already be done) and lay a thick mulch of dead leaves at their base,
  • Pull up the stumps,
  • Prune ornamental trees and shrubs,
  • Cut the trees,
  • Place the cuttings in a dipstick,
  • Protect thoughts in the northern and eastern regions,
  • Cut back fall-flowering perennials,
  • Force :
    • Spring bulbs,
    • Amaryllis.
  • Sow under cover:
    • Begonia,
    • Gentian,
    • The Alstrœmère or Lily of the Incas.
  • Plant roses,
  • Label plants that disappear in winter only to be reborn in spring so as not to accidentally plant something else in their place,
  • Relentlessly monitor the cold plants that are outside (under a wintering veil) knowing that many of them should already be wintered in local frost-free in regions with harsh winters. It is also necessary to ensure that they do not suffer from excess humidity.
  • Thoroughly clean all jars, balconies, tubs, planters, suspensions, as well as the tools which were used to prune, prune, dig, treat without forgetting the wheelbarrow, the mower… December is the ideal month for have gardening equipment serviced which will resume service as soon as spring returns.

Be careful to water the plants outside only in very dry weather in December, and if possible at the beginning of the day. And we do not forget of course to feed the birds of the sky.

Houseplants also need care in December. We pamper them because they often suffer from an atmosphere that is too hot and / or too dry in our overheated and poorly ventilated interiors. We spray them, we take care of the waterings (without excess, however), and we make sure to give them as much light as possible.

Finally, December is also the right time to bring multiple floral notes to the house with Poinsettia, Orchids, Amaryllis, Kalanchoé, Saintpaulia and other Schlumbergera… All these blooms are coming to an end.