Gardening through winter can seem like a daunting prospect but any sunny days can be great opportunities to catch up on jobs in the garden.
We have put together an essential winter checklist of tasks to do in the garden in December. This list will help keep you gardening through the winter and includes garden maintenance, pruning, clearing up jobs, winter crops and what to sow indoors.
Tidy & Clean
Not all December garden jobs are outside jobs, it is a good time to get in the shed or greenhouse to tidy and clean your tools. It is also the time to fix loose spade handles and wash your gardening gloves.
Sharp tools are safer and better for your plants, as a clean cut when pruning is less likely to let in disease.
After giving your greenhouse a good clear out, insulate it with bubble wrap to conserve heat and reduce heating costs. Good insulation will help your plants get off to the best start next season.
December is a perfect opportunity to complete any garden maintenance. When the weather allows do any repair work to sheds, fences and lawns. Keep off the grass as much as possible, although evergreen, grass is dormant in winter and damages easily. If you must walk on it, pop a plank down temporarily so that your weight is spread more evenly.
Consider the wildlife
One of the more enjoyable winter jobs in the garden is putting out feeders for garden birds; they will appreciate nuts, seeds and fat balls left out for them this winter. Remember to clean and freshen up water regularly and ensure it doesn’t freeze over.
Protect your garden in the winter
Protecting plants should be a priority on your December garden checklist. The start of this month really is the last chance to protect plants and pots that are vulnerable to frost damage. Add Victorian Bell Garden Cloches to winter salads to protect them from the weather and pests.
Cloches allow the maximum amount of sunlight to be captured at any angle, they also provide the ideal conditions for over wintering herbaceous border plants and less hardy perennials. Cloches are great to use throughout the seasons and are ideal for growing flowers or planting vegetables as they provide the perfect atmosphere to give the plant a head start. They are especially useful if you are growing melons or other plants that require a long growing season.
Bring tender plants indoors or put them in a greenhouse and avoid overwatering to avoid the risk of plants rotting. Forced bulbs such as hyacinths should also be brought in.
Protect pot plants from frost and harsh weather with Easy Fleece Jackets they are quick and easy to use; the jacket is pulled over the plant and secured with the integral drawstring around the base. The fleece jackets let through light and moisture, maintaining healthy growing conditions, and the natural-green color makes them unobtrusive in the garden.
Winter gardening tip: As well as insulating plants you need to insulate outside taps so that their pipes do not burst.
As long as the soil is not frozen and water logged and conditions allow, winter digging can continue throughout December, it’s also a good time to incorporate organic matter, from your composter, into the soil. Keep off soil if it sticks to your boots until it has dried off a bit and if you must walk on it when wet use planks to get across.