Hints & Tips
Think that with winter on its way, the weather taking a turn for the worse and temperatures plummeting that it's time to put your feet up as far as the garden's concerned? Think again!
For the 12th month of the year there's still plenty you can be getting on with to make sure that your outdoor space will thrive once we're out of the gloom and back into spring. So what can you be getting on with during the festive season?
Frozen soil can be a real issue for certain vegetables at this time of year, so you need to be taking action to ensure your prized possessions aren't killed off by a harsh frost.
Despite the hard ground, there's plenty of digging you can be doing – trenches are useful for heeling leaks and parsnips, lifting them out of their usual spots before the ground freezes.
Similarly, if you dig a trench now for where you want your beans to grow next year, a handy tip is to then fill this with compost so it rots down, providing you with great conditions for growing them later on.
Some veggies just need to be given a little extra cover to keep them warm. Celery plants can be left in the soil and covered in fleece or straw, while corn salad and winter gem lettuce will also benefit from a similar approach.
Looking after your lawn
As we get further into December the remainder of leaves will fall from the trees, so make sure you keep your lawn clear!
Wet, rotting leaves can result in your grass becoming patchy in places as they stop the light getting to it, so keeping on top of this should be a priority if you want to keep your garden in pristine condition.
If it snows, avoid walking on your lawn as this can churn it up or otherwise cause damage to the grass.
On the other hand, if it turns out to be a mild winter then you can continue to use your lawnmower – although make sure the mower blades are raised.
Other odd jobs
You might want to use this month to keep up with your pruning. Take back open-grown pear and apple trees (although not those that are trained against walls), while flowers like wisteria, acers and climbing roses should also receive the same treatment.
With some of your garden activity winding down, make the most of a great excuse to stay in the warmth by doing a bit of admin duty. Plan your crops for next year based on what works and what hasn't in the past and draw up a schedule for when you need to start planting again.
December also means that Christmas is just around the corner – so why not take stock of your tools so you know what to ask Santa for if anything needs replacing or if you fancy a new toy to play with?
Finally, take action to protect your plants and stored produce from predators. Mice can be a trouble as they seek out extra food to keep them going in the winter months, while pigeons will focus on brassicas – so ensure they're adequately covered with netting.
It's a busier month than you might expect, but it's all worth it!