December Gardening Checklist
As December unfolds and winter tightens its grip, many gardeners might be tempted to hang up their gloves and trowels until spring returns. However, seasoned gardeners know that there's much to enjoy and accomplish in the garden even during the colder months. In this blog post, we'll explore the joys and benefits of gardening in December, providing tips on how to make the most of this seemingly dormant season.
Winter Interest Plants: One of the delights of December gardening is the opportunity to showcase winter interest plants. Evergreens, such as hollies and conifers, provide a splash of color against the backdrop of a winter wonderland. Consider adding plants with interesting bark textures or winter berries to bring vibrancy to your garden during this season. One of the perennials I added to my garden last year was Snowberry! This plant provides some foliage in the Spring, and has bright white berries in the winter.
Winter Vegetables: Believe it or not, there are several vegetables that thrive in the cooler temperatures of December. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and chard can withstand the cold and even improve in flavor after exposure to frost. Root vegetables such as carrots and turnips also continue to grow, providing fresh and nutritious produce for your winter meals.
Garden Maintenance: December is an excellent time to focus on garden maintenance tasks. Use this period to clean up fallen leaves, remove debris, and tidy up flower beds. Pruning dormant trees and shrubs can enhance their shape and promote healthier growth come spring. Additionally, applying a layer of mulch can protect plants from winter temperature fluctuations and prevent weed growth. I personally rake my leaves to the roots of my perennials, and use some of them to mulch my flower beds.
Planning for Spring: December provides the perfect opportunity to plan for the upcoming spring. Research and choose new plant varieties, sketch out garden layouts, and order seeds for early spring planting. Taking these steps now will ensure a smooth transition into the next growing season.
Bird-Friendly Gardens: Create a haven for local wildlife by incorporating bird-friendly features into your garden. Hang bird feeders stocked with high-energy food to attract feathered friends seeking nourishment during the colder months. Consider installing bird baths or small water features to provide them with a water source when natural water supplies may be scarce.
Indoor Gardening: For those who prefer to stay warm indoors, December offers the perfect opportunity to indulge in indoor gardening activities. Cultivate herbs on your windowsill, start seeds for early spring planting, or experiment with decorative potted plants to bring a touch of greenery into your home during the winter. Be aware of your last frost date, so you can plan indoor starts accordingly:)
- Indoor Plant Maintainence: December is the month I fertilize, repot and reorganize my indoor plants! Many indoor plants also go dormant during these months, so its the perfect opportunity to make any changes to your indoor array of plants.
- REST: Do not put too much pressure on yourself this time of year. Now is the time to hibernate with the bears, and do some self reflection for yourself, as well as your garden. What worked well last year, what would you like to work on? Practice envisioning your goals to make them a reality.
Gardening in December is not only possible but also rewarding. By embracing the unique opportunities that this season presents, you can foster a garden that remains vibrant even in the face of winter's chill. Whether it's tending to winter vegetables, planning for the future, or simply enjoying the subtle beauty of your winter garden, December is a month full of possibilities for avid gardeners. So, bundle up, grab your gardening tools, and discover the hidden wonders of a December garden.