Alice, Gardening Year

December Gardening Jobs

An exciting start to a new season, December is all about the run-up to Christmas and the possibility of snow this winter! Although braving the outdoors could be the last thing on your mind this month, getting outside in your garden could be exactly what you need to beat the winter blues. Gardening connects us with nature and gives us a sense of responsibility, which is great for boosting your mental health. Many plants will be dormant this month, so the key themes are protecting your garden from the colder weather, preparing for spring next year and taking the time to clear up and organise. Read on for the main December gardening jobs.

december gardening jobs

General

  • Protect ponds and outdoor taps from freezing- try floating balls or plastic bottles in the water to prevent freezing, or (unless you have koi karp) switch off your pond’s pump, and make sure outdoor taps are insulated
  • Prepare soil for next year’s crops- dig over empty borders, remove weeds and large stones, and dig in soil amendments such as manure, compost, kept, bone meal, or rock phosphate to get the soil in good condition for spring planting
  • Take care of the lawn- continue to mow the lawn if the frost is not too heavy, but raise the height of the mower blades; spike with a garden fork to improve drainage
  • Continue to clear fallen leaves- fallen leaves could be harbouring slugs and other pests so make sure to clear them from plants, plus the lawn to allow in light and prevent dead patches
  • Organise your garden shed- take the time to clear out your garden shed, check security, and organise and clean your tools ready for spring. At Primrose, we stock an extensive range of garden tools; make sure to add any you need to your Christmas list!

Plants

  • Get pruning– prune fruit trees, dormant shrubs and hedges, roses, and Japanese maples
  • Plant spring bulbs– plant bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, grape hyacinths, and fritillaries before the first frost to fill your garden with glorious colour next spring
  • Take hardwood cuttings– cut healthy shoots from suitable trees, shrubs, and climbers, including honeysuckle, blackcurrant shrubs, and popular trees, and plant in the ground or in a pot to propagate new plants
  • Lift and store dahlia tubers– these tender perennials need protection from the colder weather, so lift the dormant roots and stems to store indoors and plant back outside next spring
  • Cluster container plants together– as their roots are more exposed to the elements, move shrubs and bedding plants growing in containers to sheltered spots and cluster together for protection from the colder weather
  • Propagate oriental poppies– these plants can reproduce from any scrap of root so are perfect for propagation; trim off sections of the roots then plant into a seed tray to grow new plants
  • Check tree ties– check any tree ties to make sure trees are protected from strong winds and the tree stems will not be damaged by ties that are too tight; replace any ties that have frayed or broken
  • Collect Christmas decorations– collect seasonal foliage such as ivy, yew, and fir, along with brightly coloured stems and berries to decorate your home for the festive season

Flowers to sow this month: sweet peas, geraniums, thunbergia, hardy cyclamens, snapdragons

december gardening jobs

Produce

  • Harvest root crops– harvest leeks, winter cabbage, parsnips, sprouts, and any other remaining root crops for a fantastic harvest this Christmas
  • Protect from the frost– now the weather is getting colder and we may be getting frost, it’s important to make sure your plants are protected. Shop our frost protection range for fleeces, cloches, and other equipment to weather-proof your garden
  • Protect winter cabbages– keep an eye out for yellowing leaves and remove them as they appear as they may be harbouring diseases such as grey mould and downy mildew, and cover with netting to protect from pigeons
  • Divide rhubarb clumps– division will provide a plant identical to the parent so it’s a great way of propagation and renewing the vigour of weak or overcrowded plants; divide the crown into sections with a spade and replant
  • Protect fruit trees from moths– apply glue bands or grease bands to the trunks to prevent wingless winter moths from laying their eggs in the tree
  • Clear the vegetable plot– as most vegetables are now dormant, take the opportunity to finish clearing old crops and debris to prepare for spring; you can also use this time to install paths and paving
  • Plan next year’s vegetable garden– now is the time to reflect on what worked this year, and plan what to grow next year. It’s also a great time to order seeds ready for planting in spring; our new range of seeds from Mr Fothergill’s provide a range of high-quality flowers, vegetables, and herbs. You could also purchase one of our Raised Beds for the perfect space to grow them in

Produce to sow this month: onions, garlic, broad beans, gooseberries, currants, blackberries, strawberries, mustard

Greenhouse

  • Clean your greenhouse– if you haven’t already done so, make sure to clean your greenhouse thoroughly; wash and disinfect capillary matting before storing away
  • Water plants sparingly– make sure plants are hydrated but keep the greenhouse as dry as possible to reduce the risk of disease
  • Combat pests– check overwintering plants for pests such as aphids and red spider mite, treat if necessary using a general insecticide
  • Maintain plants– pick faded leaves and dead flowers from plants that are being stored in the greenhouse over the winter
  • Remove snow– make sure to brush any snow off the top of greenhouses and cold frames to make sure the glass does not get damaged

Plants to sow in the greenhouse this month: basil, dill, chives, parsley, winter lettuces

Animals

  • Provide fat-rich food– birds expend a lot of energy in the winter just keeping warm, so make sure to provide fat-rich food such as suet, peanuts, and sunflower hearts to help them stock up. Our Whole Suet-Filled Co-Co Feeder provides the perfect high-energy feast, and you can shop our full Wild Bird Care range to take care of our feathered friends this winter
  • Top up the bird bath– birds need fresh water to drink and bathe in, so make sure to keep your bird bath replenished
  • Avoid turning compost– critters such as hedgehogs may be hibernating in your compost heap, so avoid turning your compost this month, or proceed with caution
  • Provide a bee refuge– bees also hibernate during the winter, so make sure to provide a safe space with one of our bee hotels. Our Seasonal Bee Nesting House is the perfect haven for bees that will help your garden thrive next summer
  • Create a log shelter– make a pile of logs in a corner of your garden to provide shelter for toads and other wildlife

Let us know what’s happening in your garden this month by getting in touch on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

You can download a printable version of this checklist below:

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december gardening jobs checklist

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