The end of the year approaches, again. For many people, December is synonymous with family, dinner parties and holiday cheer… This year is pretty different as we’re going through a global crisis and our social options are limited.
Most of us are staying at home and staying safe. The good thing is, you can take advantage of this time to spend the isolation in your own paradise — your garden. Although most wouldn’t think December is the best month to work outside, there are so many things you can do as winter runs its course.
If you don’t know what to do in the garden in December, don’t worry. We’ve got you! Here are five simple things you can do in your backyard this December:
1. Protect Your Plants with Mulch
If you haven’t done so yet (most gardeners will do this in October or November, depending on your climate), it is imperative to protect more sensitive plants against cold weather. The best time to do it is in the weeks before the first frost, and the second best time is now. Mulch will serve as an insulator to prevent plants’ roots from getting too cold. Alternatively, you can use a cloth or a blanket to cover your plants.
2. Decorate a Tree for Christmas
Why would you buy an artificial Christmas tree if you can decorate a REAL one, right? Pick a tree in your garden — any tree — and decorate it!
Add Christmas lights and ornaments, or even make your own!
Head over to Pinterest for inspiration.
3. Plan Your Garden for 2021
What are you going to grow in your garden in 2021? December is a great time to take stock of your gardening activities in the past year… and make plans for the year ahead.
This is not technically a thing to do IN the garden in December, but it’s a thing to do FOR the garden.
What did you grow in the past year?
What was a success, and will you grow it again next year?
What didn’t quite work out, and why not? Are you going to try again?
Is there anything new and exciting you’d like to grow next year?
If you’re going all out with the planning, grab yourself a garden planner and have fun with it!
4. Organize Your Seeds and Plan Ahead
In December, you can get your hands on the first seed catalogues — a great source of inspiration for next year’s garden.
Before you spend your budget on new seeds though, you might want to look at what you already have in your stock.
If you’re anything like us, you saved seeds from your garden throughout the year. And you probably have seeds left from last year’s planting, or maybe even older seeds. Now you’re looking at them with that overwhelmed reaction, not knowing how you can even begin to plant all of them. Here are some stress-relief suggestions:
Throw out any seeds that are likely too old to actually grow. Or better even, create seed bombs with them!
Make an inventory of all the seeds you’ve got; label them, bag or rebag them, make sure they’re easy to find when the time comes. I like to group them together according to the planting season.
Make a list of everything that’s missing… all the things you’d like to plant next year, but you don’t yet have the seeds.
5. Prune Your Plants
According to BBC Gardeners World, “Pruning in winter encourages flowers and fruit, can encourage a good shape, promotes strong growth and helps to stop disease taking hold.”
This is because most plants and shrubs are dormant in this season and pruning at this stage is like crafting them the way you want them to grow once spring begins.
Bear in mind, though, that not all trees are suitable for winter pruning. Some of the ideal plants you can prune in the winter are roses, fruit bushes, and apple and pear trees. Here is a useful guide to both learn how to prune properly as well as a list of the plants and trees optimal for winter pruning.
6. Feed Your Compost
Decomposition might be slower in the winter, but it doesn’t mean your compost heap goes completely dormant. Take the leaves and branch parts you just pruned and add them to the compost bin, heap or whatever system you’re using.
If you’d like to speed up the decomposition process, you can even use a shredder before you add new material to your compost.
7. Gardening Tool Maintenance
Well-maintained gardening tools will last you a lot longer!
This is the time to clean tools, repair anything that’s broken, sharpen your gardening shears, and make sure everything’s in order for another year of successful gardening.