With cold weather and less sunlight than any other month, December is one of the quieter months for your garden. There are still some things you can do during this time for general upkeep, but there’s also some essential planting to keep your green fingers busy.
Here’s our round-up of the best things to plant during December.
Vegetables to plant in December
There’s nothing more rewarding than growing vegetables in your garden, and then either eating the results or sharing them with friends and family. The optimum time to plant most vegetables is at the start of the year, but you can still get a headstart on your crop this month.
You can get salad-ready and grow winter lettuce, lamb’s lettuce and mustard green if you have an unheated greenhouse, as well as the Setton variety of onion. Not got a greenhouse? Don’t worry; there are options available in the soil too. Broad beans can be painted in cloches, just ensure you protect them from birds, squirrels and mice. And both garlic bulbs and rhubarb crowns can be planted at this time of year.
Fruits to plant in December
It’s not just the veg that you can get going. Several varieties of berry are also suitable for this month too, with raspberry canes, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries all suitable to plant any time between now and the spring.
Providing you have a patch in your garden with enough sunlight, you can also plant apple and peach trees. You will need to be mindful of frost, however, and be prepared to cover them when you know a cold snap is coming.
Flowers to plant in December
If you didn’t plant any in November, it’s an excellent time to get your tulip bulbs planted. Doing so should avoid them flowering during a frost, but you’ll need to make sure the soil isn’t frozen when you do plant them. It’s always advisable to wait for a mild day for this task.
You can also use a greenhouse or any indoor space to prepare individual flowers, with sweet peas and Laurentia both options. And Crown Imperials are an excellent choice if you have container space, as these will flower early spring and add some delightful flashes of red to your garden.
And don’t forget - look after your animal friends
Getting some new plants down isn’t the only life you should be cultivating this month. All gardens are made better by welcoming birds, with their voices and feathered plumes superb additions. The colder months mean they are more in need of food so restocking any bird-feeders and making sure water bottles are topped up will keep them hardy through the winter.
And if you have fish, take the time to make sure your pond has enough oxygen. Cut air holes in the ice if it does freeze over (it will need to be Alaskan conditions for them to be at risk beyond this, so don’t worry), and use an aerator or a pump to make sure the water is free of toxins.
Your fish will hibernate once the temperature drops below ten degrees, so you can stop feeding them during this period. Remember to start again though once the weather picks up.