Here is your rough guide to jobs and gear appropriate for December. Check out the black bold words for a brief guide to tasks and blue words for tools and equipment.
It’s December. Even herald angels are wrapping up against the cold, Holly and Ivy are springing up all over the place and choirs of cherubic children are coughing their way through nativity play rehearsals. Time to harvest your winter radishes and brussels sprouts, in fact,anyone who doesn't watch cookery programmes will be putting the sprouts on a medium heat about now, ready for Christmas lunch. Any sprouts you intend to stay in the ground should be earthed up.
Watch out for caterpillars on the leaves of your sprouts or any brassicas. Pick them off by hand if you see any. You can plant rhubarb at this time and carry out more preparation of your beds for onions, peas and potatoes. Again, don’t try it in the wet, wait for a decent day (there is nothing like a cold crisp, bright December day for working in the garden)
Don’t forget to cover your prepared ground with polythene sheeting or the like. Make sure it is staked or weighed down or you could find it has flown away next time you come out.
Keep up the continual process of clearing twigs, leaves and any other organic rubbish from beds and from your lawn.
Get any leaves off the lawn as quickly as you can to stop them encouraging worms and blocking valuable light and air. Use a good wide lawn rake.
You probably won’t need to mow your lawn more than once this month, and even then, only if you get a dry day. Use the spare time this gives you to carry out any lawnmower maintenance and find a good place to store it.
However, make sure the lawn is draining, especially if the snows have started. A low cost, effective Hollow Tine Aerator may help (See example below)
if you can bear it in the cold weather, remove moss with your rake. Check all the vegetables you have stored for any rot, moisture or sneaky pests that got in.
Tidy your shed. It’s a good job to do now so it doesn’t get out of hand before you start in earnest in the New Year. Time to order vegetable seed catalogues, seed potatoes and onion sets ready for the coming seasons. And finally, towards the end of the month, have a great seasonal break and spend at least some of the mini-holiday planning your growing schedule for next year.
And don't forget, there's always help in the garden at Christmas if you look for it….