Garden Diary - December

Garden Diary - December

Not many people think there is much to do in the garden during December. They aren’t totally wrong as you are limited to what can be done in the garden in terms of planting and harvesting etc. However, there's still a lot of work to be done maintaining, caring and tending to the garden to keep it in its best shape. 

Winter Protection 

  • Check your winter protection structures are securely in place. Using tree ties and stakes will help to secure trees and climbers from winter storms. 

  • Insulate any outdoor taps or turn the water supply to them off from the mains to avoid the pipes freezing. 

  • Take care of fish ponds by installing a pond heater set to the same temperature of the water in the warmer months to maintain the water temperature year round and to try to prevent freezing. Using a water feature that causes the water to move frequently or floating a ball on the top of the water can help to delay freezing. If the pond does ice over, fill a pan with hot water and move it across the surface to melt the ice away. Never smash the ice as the shock waves can harm your fish. 

  • Protect terracotta pots from cracking in cold temperatures by bringing them inside or wrapping them in bubble wrap to help insulate. 

  • Cover timid plants with fleece to keep them safe from cold snaps. 

  • Avoid putting pressure on frosted or snowed over grass as this can cause damage, leading to uneven growth or bald patches once the cold has settled back down again. 

Keep the Greenhouse in Check 

  • Install or check heaters are working properly to maintain greenhouse temperatures over the cold months, this will stop plants coming into contact with colder temperatures than they are used to. 

  • Remove any snow and ice from the tops and frames of the greenhouse to stop a chill, stop light from being blocked and avoid damage being caused to the glass/perspex. 

  • Maintain a dry atmosphere by avoiding over watering plants this will help to avoid rot, damage or disease. 

Regular maintenance 

  • Prune: open-grown apples and pears; acers; birches & vines. 

  • Harvest leaks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and root crops. 

  • Rake up leaves to avoid damage to grass and flower beds. This will help to remove any snails, slugs or other pests from hunkering down under the leaves and causing damage to your garden. 

  • Plant bare-root roses. 

  • Mend, Repair and Replace any structures within the garden such as fences, benches, work benches or wooden planters and boxes whilst there's more time for maintenance before the spring rush.  

  • Keep checking in on stored corms and bulbs for winter rot. Throw out any affected bulbs or corms to avoid further damage to the rest. 

  • Wipe down your tools with linseed oil to help avoid rust damage. 

  • Clear out gutters and drains to avoid blockages. 

  • Send the mower off for servicing whilst it's in less demand. 

  • Brush away any slimy residue that appears on the patio and driveways from the damper conditions the winter months bring around. A tough bristled brush should do the trick. 

Tips 

  • Hang bird feeders filled with fat balls around flowering plants and exposed veggies to attract hungry birds which will then feed on overwintering pests on your plants. 

  • Keep checking in on the locks and handles of your shed now it's not in use as much as they may need oiling.

  • Order your seeds, bulbs and sproutlings before the rush starts so they’ll arrive just in time from spring planting. 

  • Plan ahead for the following year, ordering any materials you need as prices will be lower during the winter months. Prices out of season tend to be lower than they are during the spring and summer seasons when they are in higher demand. Who doesn’t want to save some pennies around the festivities.

  • Stick new tools on your Christmas list! Everyone loves a practical present under their tree!